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Chronic Alcohol Consumption, Abstinence and Relapse: Brain Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Studies in Animals and Humans

  • Dieter J. MeyerhoffEmail author
  • Timothy C. Durazzo
  • Gabriele Ende
Chapter
Part of the Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences book series (CTBN, volume 13)

Abstract

This chapter summarizes the peer-reviewed literature of proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H MRS) studies on the effects of chronic and excessive alcohol consumption in both the animal and human brain. After a brief summary of the neuropathology of alcohol use disorders (AUD), we describe the primary brain metabolites measured by in vivo 1H MRS. We then focus on published MRS studies of animal models of alcohol dependence and of treatment-seeking humans with AUD. We also summarize the scant MRS research on the much larger fraction of treatment-naïve individuals with AUD and the similarities and discrepancies relative to treatment-seekers. It is exceedingly apparent that premorbid and/or comorbid disorders/conditions, especially chronic smoking, among individuals with AUD contribute to the considerable variability in the pattern and magnitude of neurobiological and neurocognitive abnormalities in AUD. Therefore, we also review studies on the neurobiological consequences of the combined effects of chronic drinking and smoking in AUD. Finally, as AUD is characterized by a chronically relapsing/remitting course over lifetime and identification of those at greatest risk for relapse is important, we review 1H MRS studies on brain spectroscopic measures that contribute to the prediction of relapse in AUD. We conclude with an overall assessment of the MRS research literature on brain alcohol effects, the role of animal and human studies in understanding the disease, and discuss the need of widely integrative MRS studies of cohorts that include individuals with comorbidies that are reflective of the general population with AUD.

Keywords

Alcoholism Alcohol use disorders Magnetic resonance spectroscopy Neuroimaging Brain metabolites Recovery Relapse Nicotine Smoking 

Abbreviations

AUD

Alcohol use disorders

CNS

Central nervous system.

Cho

Choline-containing compounds

Cr

Creatine and phosphocreatine

CSF

Cerebrospinal fluid

GABA

Gamma aminobutyric acid,

Glu

Glutamate

GM

Gray matter

NAA

N-acetylaspartate

NAAG

N-acetylaspartylglutamate

mI

Myoinositol

MR

Magnetic resonance

MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging

WM

White matter

1H MRS

Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

1H MRSI

Proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging

Notes

Acknowledgements

This review was supported by NIH R01 AA10788 (DJM), K01 DA24136 (TCD), and grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (SFB636) (GE) and the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) NGFN-plus (GE).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dieter J. Meyerhoff
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Timothy C. Durazzo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gabriele Ende
    • 3
  1. 1.Center for Imaging of Neurodegenerative DiseasesSan Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical CenterSan FranciscoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Radiology and Biomedical ImagingUniversity of California San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA
  3. 3.Department of NeuroimagingCentral Institute of Mental HealthMannheimGermany

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