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J Psychopharmacol. 2013 Oct;27(10):940-6. doi: 10.1177/0269881113494938. Epub 2013 Jul 4.

The use of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor decreases heavy alcohol exposure-induced inflammatory response and tissue damage in rats.

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1Institute of Medical Sciences, Tzu Chi University, Hualien, Taiwan, ROC.


Alcohol intoxication and psychiatric medication overdoses, including antidepressants, are common emergency room events. Heavy alcohol and antidepressant exposure are able to induce changes in cytokines disturbing normal physiology. We examined the inflammatory and physiological effects of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medication after heavy alcohol exposure. Rats were randomly divided into Alc (EtOH 5g/kg, intravenous infusion for 3 h), SSRI (paroxetine oral intake) and Alc+SSRI groups. Serum samples were collected to measure blood ethanol, aspartate transferase, alanine transferase, creatine phosphokinase, lactate dehydrogenase, amylase, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels. Lactate dehydrogenase levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid were also examined. Liver, pancreas and lungs were removed after sacrifice and any pathological changes were catalogued. Ethanol infusion resulted in blood levels of ethanol of >100 mg/dL after ethanol infusion. Serum levels of aspartate transferase, alanine transferase, creatine phosphokinase, lactate dehydrogenase, amylase, TNF-α and IL-6 in the Alc+SSRI group were lower than in the Alc group. Moreover, pathological damages to the liver, pancreas and lungs were slightly lower in the Alc+SSRI group than in the Alc group. These findings suggested that SSRI is able to decrease the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and thereby reduce liver and pancreas damage after heavy alcohol exposure.


Alcohol intoxication; TNF-α; inflammation; selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor

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