Family history of alcoholism is associated with lower 5-HT2A receptor binding in the prefrontal cortex

Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research
Mark D UnderwoodVictoria Arango


5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HT(2A)) receptor involvement in alcoholism is suggested by less 5-HT(2A) binding in alcohol preferring rats, association of a 5-HT(2A) receptor gene polymorphism with alcohol dependence and reduced alcohol intake with 5-HT(2A) antagonists. We sought to determine postmortem whether 5-HT(2A) receptors are altered in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) of alcoholics. Brain tissue from 25 alcoholics and 19 controls was collected at autopsy. Diagnosis of DSM-IV alcoholism/abuse and other psychiatric disorders and the determination of family history of alcoholism were made by psychological autopsy. Specific binding to 5-HT(2A) ((3)H-ketanserin) receptors in the PFC was measured by quantitative autoradiography. 5-HT(2A) binding decreased with age [Brodmann areas (BA) 9, 46 gyrus; r = -0.381, -0.334, p < 0.05]. No differences in receptor binding between alcoholics and controls were detected in the gyrus or sulcus of any PFC area examined. Cases (controls or alcoholics) with a family history of alcoholism (n = 23) had less 5-HT(2A) binding throughout PFC than subjects without (n = 21) a family history of alcoholism (p < 0.05). 5-HT(2A) receptor binding in alcoholics without a family history of alcoholism (n = 7) did not d...Continue Reading


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