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Psychiatry Res. 2013 Dec 30;214(3):429-34. doi: 10.1016/j.pscychresns.2013.09.012. Epub 2013 Oct 8.

AMPA receptors in post-mortem brains of Cloninger type 1 and 2 alcoholics: a whole-hemisphere autoradiography study.

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  • 1Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, PO Box 1627, FI-70211 Kuopio, Finland; Department of Forensic Psychiatry, Niuvanniemi Hospital, University of Eastern Finland, PO Box 1627, FI-70211 Kuopio, Finland.


Dysfunction of the brain glutamate system has been associated with alcoholism. Ionotropic glutamatergic alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid receptors (AMPARs) play an important role in both neurotransmission and post-synaptic plasticity. Alterations in AMPAR densities may also play a role in the neurobiological changes associated with alcoholism. In the present study, [(3)H] AMPA binding density was evaluated in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), frontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), dentate gyrus and hippocampus of Cloninger type 1 (n=9) and 2 (n=8) alcoholics, and compared with non-alcoholic control subjects (n=10) by post-mortem whole-hemisphere autoradiography. The [(3)H] AMPA binding density was significantly higher in the ACC of early onset type 2 alcoholics when compared with controls (p=0.011). There was also a significant negative correlation between [(3)H] AMPA binding and previously published results of dopamine transporter (DAT) density in the ACC in these same brain samples (R=-0.95, p=0.001). Although preliminary, and from a relatively small diagnostic group, the present results help to further explain the pathology of alcohol dependence and impulsive behaviour in type 2 alcoholics.

© 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.


Addiction; Alcohol dependence; Alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid; Anterior cingulate cortex; Early onset alcoholism; Impulsive behavior

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