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Acetaldehyde effects in the brain

  • Autori: Plescia, F.; Cannizzaro, E.; Brancato, A.; Martines, F.; DI NARO, A.; Mucia, M.; Plescia, F.; Vita, C.; Salvago, P.; Mule', A.; Rizzo, S.; Sireci, F.; Cannizzaro, C.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2015
  • Tipologia: Recensione in rivista (Recensione in rivista)
  • OA Link:


The effects of alcohol have been widely studied during the past century as alcohol abuse is a major health problem in Western society. In the last years, a growing body of evidence indicates that acetaldehyde, the first oxidation product of ethanol, is one of the mediators of peripheral and central effects of ethanol. Indeed, acetaldehyde has been recently taken into account as the mediator of the rewarding properties of alcohol. The role of acetaldehyde in ethanol-related properties has been proved by enzymatic manipulation studies in which the inactivation of acetaldehyde potentially synthesized in the brain produces the same results as blocking the formation of acetaldehyde by inhibiting brain catalase activity. Moreover, electrophysiological and pharmacological analyses showed that acetaldehyde is able to stimulate dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens through enhancement of firing rate, spikes/burst, and burst firing of ventral tegmental neurons. Thus, the aim of this review is to summarize latest results on the role of acetaldehyde as the mediator of ethanol-central effects.