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Psychiatry Res. 1998 May 20;82(2):69-82.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging of alprazolam-induced changes in humans with familial alcoholism.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry/116A, Outpatient Clinic, Boston National Institute on Drug Abuse/Veterans Administration Medication Development Research Unit, MA 02114, USA.


This study sought to identify whether subjects with a family history (FH + ) of alcoholism had changes in regional cerebral blood volume (rCBV) after an alprazolam challenge which distinguished them from subjects without a family history (FH -) of alcoholism using functional MRI (fMRI). Twelve FH + and eight FH - subjects were challenged with 1 mg of alprazolam or placebo in a double-blind crossover design. FMRI scans were obtained at baseline, 1 and 2 h after the challenge using the dynamic susceptibility contrast method with gadolinium. Mood scales, the Tufts Addiction Research Center Inventory-Morphine Benzedrine Group Scale and the drug liking scale, were administered every 30 min to assess drug effects. Global analysis of CBV showed a treatment by time decrease on alprazolam relative to placebo, but no effect by family history. The FH + group showed rCBV decreases at 1 h in the left caudate and left inferior prefrontal region, while the FH - group showed rCBV decreases at 2 h in the right inferior prefrontal region and anterior cingulate in response to alprazolam relative to placebo. FH + subjects reported more mood enhancement with alprazolam. This fMRI technique detected global and regional CBV changes induced by alprazolam. The location and rate of alprazolam-induced rCBV changes differed between FH + and FH - subjects. These changes may be related to the increased mood enhancement found in subjects genetically predisposed to alcoholism.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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