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Pharmacopsychiatry. 1995 Oct;28 Suppl 2:93-7.

Decrease in circulating tryptophan availability to the brain after acute ethanol consumption by normal volunteers: implications for alcohol-induced aggressive behaviour and depression.

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Cardiff Community Healthcare NHS Trust, Whitchurch Hospital, Wales, UK.


Acute ethanol consumption by fasting male volunteers decreases circulating trytophan (Trp) concentration and availability to the brain as determined by the ratio of (Trp) to the sum of its five competitors ([Trp]/[CAA]ratio). These effects of alcohol are specific to Trp, because levels of the 5 competitors are not increased. The decrease in circulating (Trp) is not associated with altered binding to albumin and may therefore be due to enhancement of hepatic Trp pyrrolase activity. It is suggested that, under these conditions brain serotonin synthesis is likely to be impaired and that, as a consequence, a possible strong depletion of brain serotonin in susceptible individuals may induce aggressive behaviour after alcohol consumption. The possible implications of these findings in the relationship between alcohol and depression are also briefly discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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