Enhanced brain acetate metabolism may reward heavy drinkers

March 8, 2013

In addition to its well-known effects on the CNS, alcohol consumption has a significant impact on metabolism. After consumption, the body rapidly begins converting ethanol to acetate, which can serve as an energy source for the brain and other organs. Lihong Jiang and colleagues at Yale University used a brain imaging technique, magnetic resonance spectroscopy, to track acetate uptake and metabolism in the brains of heavy drinkers (consumed at least 8 drinks/week) and light drinkers (consumed less than 2 drinks/week).

n this issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, they report that heavy drinkers had greater, more rapid acetate uptake and metabolism compared to light drinkers. Because ethanol consumption can cause acute drops in , acetate has the potential to provide a compensatory energetic reward. Additionally, acetate metabolism produces adenosine, which has a sedating effect similar to alcohol.

These findings suggest that the provision of acetate and/or enhancement of adenosine during alcohol detoxification could help alleviate withdrawal symptoms.

Explore further: The effects of smoking and alcohol use on risk of upper aero-digestive cancers

More information: Increased brain uptake and oxidation of acetate in heavy drinkers, J Clin Invest. doi:10.1172/JCI65153.

Related Stories

The effects of smoking and alcohol use on risk of upper aero-digestive cancers

August 2, 2011
Upper aero-digestive tract cancers (UADT), especially those of the oral cavity, pharynx, and larynx, are often referred to as alcohol-related cancers as it has been shown repeatedly that heavy drinkers, in particular, are ...

The effect of occasional binge drinking on heart disease and mortality among moderate drinkers

February 2, 2012
Most studies have found that binge drinking is associated with a loss of alcohol's protective effect against ischemic heart disease (IHD) and most studies have found an increase of coronary risk among binge drinkers.

Alcohol consumption greatly increases serious injury risk for heavy and moderate drinkers

October 14, 2011
Researchers know that alcohol impairs coordination and the ability to perceive and respond to hazards, and that hangovers impair neurocognitive performance and psychomotor vigilance. This study closely examined alcohol-related ...

Association of quantity of alcohol and frequency of consumption with cancer mortality

October 20, 2011
A paper from the National Institutes of Health in the United States has evaluated the separate and combined effects of the frequency of alcohol consumption and the average quantity of alcohol drunk per occasion and how that ...

Recommended for you

Concern with potential rise in super-potent cannabis concentrates

July 21, 2017
University of Queensland researchers are concerned the recent legalisation of medicinal cannabis in Australia may give rise to super-potent cannabis concentrates with associated harmful effects.

Findings link aldosterone with alcohol use disorder

July 18, 2017
A new study led by scientists at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, demonstrates that aldosterone, a hormone produced in the adrenal glands, may contribute ...

Depression among young teens linked to cannabis use at 18

July 17, 2017
A study looking at the cumulative effects of depression in youth, found that young people with chronic or severe forms of depression were at elevated risk for developing a problem with cannabis in later adolescence.

Why does prenatal alcohol exposure increase the likelihood of addiction?

July 7, 2017
One of the many negative consequences when fetuses are exposed to alcohol in the womb is an increased risk for drug addiction later in life. Neuroscientists in the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions are ...

Researchers say U.S. policies on drugs and addiction could use a dose of neuroscience

June 23, 2017
Tens of thousands of Americans die from drug overdoses every year – around 50,000 in 2015 – and the number has been steadily climbing for at least the last decade and a half, according to the National Institute on Drug ...

Study provides further support for genetic factors underlying addictions

June 13, 2017
Impairment of a particular gene raises increases susceptibility to opioid addiction liability as well as vulnerability to binge eating according to a new study.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.