Beer flavor provokes striatal dopamine release in male drinkers: Mediation by family history of alcoholism

Brandon G. Oberlin, Mario Dzemidzic, Stella M. Tran, Christina M. Soeurt, Daniel S. Albrecht, Karmen Yoder, David Kareken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Striatal dopamine (DA) is increased by virtually all drugs of abuse, including alcohol. However, drug-associated cues are also known to provoke striatal DA transmission-a phenomenon linked to the motivated behaviors associated with addiction. To our knowledge, no one has tested if alcohol's classically conditioned flavor cues, in the absence of a significant pharmacologic effect, are capable of eliciting striatal DA release in humans. Employing positron emission tomography (PET), we hypothesized that beer's flavor alone can reduce the binding potential (BP) of [11 C]raclopride (RAC; a reflection of striatal DA release) in the ventral striatum, relative to an appetitive flavor control. Forty-nine men, ranging from social to heavy drinking, mean age 25, with a varied family history of alcoholism underwent two [11 C]RAC PET scans: one while tasting beer, and one while tasting Gatorade. Relative to the control flavor of Gatorade, beer flavor significantly increased self-reported desire to drink, and reduced [11 C]RAC BP, indicating that the alcohol-associated flavor cues induced DA release. BP reductions were strongest in subjects with first-degree alcoholic relatives. These results demonstrate that alcohol-conditioned flavor cues can provoke ventral striatal DA release, absent significant pharmacologic effects, and that the response is strongest in subjects with a greater genetic risk for alcoholism. Striatal DA responses to salient alcohol cues may thus be an inherited risk factor for alcoholism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1617-1624
Number of pages8
JournalNeuropsychopharmacology
Volume38
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2013

Fingerprint

Corpus Striatum
Alcoholism
Dopamine
Cues
Alcohols
Positron-Emission Tomography
Raclopride
Street Drugs
Drinking
Pharmaceutical Preparations

Keywords

  • alcohol abuse
  • classical conditioning
  • cue reactivity
  • ethanol
  • heritable risk
  • taste

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Beer flavor provokes striatal dopamine release in male drinkers : Mediation by family history of alcoholism. / Oberlin, Brandon G.; Dzemidzic, Mario; Tran, Stella M.; Soeurt, Christina M.; Albrecht, Daniel S.; Yoder, Karmen; Kareken, David.

In: Neuropsychopharmacology, Vol. 38, No. 9, 08.2013, p. 1617-1624.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Oberlin, Brandon G. ; Dzemidzic, Mario ; Tran, Stella M. ; Soeurt, Christina M. ; Albrecht, Daniel S. ; Yoder, Karmen ; Kareken, David. / Beer flavor provokes striatal dopamine release in male drinkers : Mediation by family history of alcoholism. In: Neuropsychopharmacology. 2013 ; Vol. 38, No. 9. pp. 1617-1624.
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