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Psychiatry Res. 1990 Apr;35(1):39-48.

Acute effects of ethanol on regional brain glucose metabolism and transport.

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Medical Department, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY 11973.


To evaluate the effects of ethanol in the human brain, we tested six normal subjects and six alcoholics using positron emission tomography and 2-deoxy-2-[18F]-fluoro-D-glucose (FDG) under baseline conditions and 24 hours later after ethanol administration (1 g/kg). Ethanol inhibited cortical and cerebellar glucose metabolism with relative sparing of the basal ganglia and corpus callosum. This inhibition was more pronounced in the alcoholics than in the controls. Measurement of the constants for glucose transport and utilization showed that decreased glucose metabolism was due to a reduction in glucose phosphorylation and not to a change of glucose transport into the tissue. The pattern of regional metabolic inhibition by alcohol paralleled the distribution of benzodiazepine receptors in the human brain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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