Monday, September 25, 2006

Booze inhibits serotonin re-uptake, but not like Prozac does....

McGowan comments in Nature Reviews Neuroscience on an article by Daws et. al. in Journal of Neuroscience: This study shows that ethanol inhibits clearance of the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT) from the extracellular fluid in the mouse hippocampus, and that, surprisingly, this occurs through a mechanism that is independent of the serotonin transporter (5-HTT) which is inhibited by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as prozac (fluoxetine) or Paxil (paroxetine). The effect is actually enhanced if the transporter is genetically or pharmacologically inactivated. This study suggests that "blocking the removal of 5-HT underlies, at least in part, the effects of ethanol in the brain. It remains to be determined exactly how ethanol inhibits 5-HT removal from the extracellular fluid. The noradrenaline transporter, which also transports serotonin and is expressed in the hippocampus, is one candidate site of action. However, more work will be required to confirm a role for this transporter in the influence of alcohol on neuronal function and behaviour. These findings could help to explain the positive association between a polymorphism in the promoter region of human 5-HTT, which confers low-expression of 5-HTT, and alcoholism."

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