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Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2015 Feb;232(4):733-44. doi: 10.1007/s00213-014-3706-z. Epub 2014 Aug 12.

Dose-dependent effects of intravenous alcohol administration on cerebral blood flow in young adults.

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1
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute, 100 Stokes Street, Toronto, ON, M6J 1H4, Canada.

Abstract

RATIONALE:

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies involving alcohol challenge are important for identifying neural correlates of alcohol's psychopharmacological effects. However, evaluating acute alcohol effects on blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) signal change is complicated by alcohol-related increases in cerebral blood flow (CBF).

OBJECTIVES:

The present study aimed to further characterize acute alcohol effects on CBF using intravenous alcohol administration to maximize control over brain alcohol exposure.

METHODS:

Twenty heavy-drinking young adults (M = 19.95 years old, SD = 0.76) completed alcohol and placebo imaging sessions in a within-subject, counter-balanced, placebo-controlled design. Arterial spin labeling (ASL) provided estimates of perfusion change at two target blood alcohol concentrations (40 and 80 mg%) relative to baseline and relative to a saline control infusion.

RESULTS:

Voxel-wise analyses showed widespread and dose-dependent effects of alcohol on CBF increase. Region-of-interest analyses confirmed these findings, also indicating regional variation in the magnitude of perfusion change. Additional findings indicated that lower self-reported sensitivity to alcohol corresponded with reduced perfusion change during alcohol administration.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study provides further evidence for widespread effects of acute alcohol on cerebral perfusion, also demonstrating regional, dose-dependent, and inter-individual variation. Further research is needed to evaluate implications of these effects for the design and interpretation of pharmacological fMRI studies involving alcohol challenge.

PMID:
25110231
DOI:
10.1007/s00213-014-3706-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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