Ethanol and Neurohormonal Regulation

  • J. Littleton
Part of the Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology book series (HEP, volume 114)


The neurohormonal system is responsible for the regulation of a wide variety of physiological and behavioural responses of the organism, so alterations of this system by ethanol have widespread and serious functional consequences. The excellent review by Cicero (1982) leaves no doubt whatsoever that ethanol does perturb the neurohormonal system at several different levels, including the synthesis, release and receptor-mediated responses of all the chemical messengers involved, i. e., including hypothalamic-releasing hormones, trophic hormones from the pituitary and the endocrine hormones themselves. These effects alone would be sufficient to justify several chapters on ethanol and neurohormones, but they are only half the story because the effects of ethanol on neurohormones are not just “one way” so that alterations in neurohormones (including some caused by ethanol itself) may affect ethanol consumption (and ethanol tolerance and dependence). This offers the possibility that understanding interactions with neurohormones may provide clues to potential pharmacological modification of ethanol consumption in man.


Ethanol Consumption Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Ethanol Tolerance Luteinizing Hormone Release Hormone Prenatal Alcohol Exposure 
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