Concurrent effects of benzodiazepines on stress-induced activation of the three classical "stress" systems: pituitary-adrenal, adrenomedullary, and sympathoneural systems have not been extensively investigated in humans. In the present study, the effects of alprazolam (1.5 mg) on plasma levels of adrenocorticotropin hormone (ACTH), epinephrine, norepinephrine, dihydroxyphenylglycol (DHPG, the intraneuronal metabolite of norepinephrine), and mood states were examined in 10 healthy volunteers undergoing glucoprivic stress. Glucoprivic stress was induced by intravenous administration of the glucose analog, 2-deoxyglucose (2DG), at a dose (50 mg/kg) that impairs cellular glucose metabolism and produces a state comparable to hypoglycemia. Alprazolam and 2DG were administered in a double-blind, placebo-controlled manner. 2DG produced robust elevations in plasma ACTH and epinephrine levels, modest elevations in plasma norepinephrine levels, and decreases in plasma DHPG levels. Alprazolam significantly attenuated the 2DG-induced increases in plasma ACTH and epinephrine, but did not significantly effect plasma norepinephrine and DHPG. These data suggest that benzodiazepines attenuate metabolic stress-induced activation of the pituitary-adrenal and adrenomedullary systems but do not effect 2DG-related effects on peripheral sympathoneural function. The possible mechanisms involved are discussed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biological Psychiatry