Platelet MAO in subtypes of alcoholism

John L. Sullivan, John C. Baenziger, David L. Wagner, Frederick P. Rauscher, John I. Nurnberger, J. Steven Holmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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A number of investigators have observed low platelet monoamine oxidase (MAO) activity in alcoholism. There is also preliminary evidence suggesting that low enzyme activity is principally associated with one of two putative subtypes of alcohol dependence, i.e., type II (male limited). The results of this study are consistent with two previous reports of reduced platelet MAO activity in type II male alcoholics as compared with type I male alcoholics and normal, healthy male controls. Type I (milieu-limited) alcoholics showed a smaller reduction in enzyme activity. The observed differences do not appear to be related to concurrent use of other psychoactive substances, characteristics differences in age between type I alcoholics and type II alcoholics, antisocial personality disorder, or variation in platelet size. Low platelet MAO activity in alcoholics is possibly related to both state and trait factors and may be a useful biochemical measure to assist with subtyping.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)911-922
Number of pages12
JournalBiological psychiatry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 1990


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry

Cite this

Sullivan, J. L., Baenziger, J. C., Wagner, D. L., Rauscher, F. P., Nurnberger, J. I., & Steven Holmes, J. (1990). Platelet MAO in subtypes of alcoholism. Biological psychiatry, 27(8), 911-922.