Project: Research project

Project Details


The purpose of this project is to study, in alcoholic and control subjects,
the effects of ethanol on calcium metabolic functions that control free
intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca++f]i) in platelets. The platelet
has been used as a peripheral model for biochemical and physiological
processes in central nervous system nerve endings because of several
functional similarities, including the role of calcium as a second
messenger and the storage and release of neurotransmitter. The
intracellular free calcium concentration in platelets and nerve endings
regulates many intracellular biochemical and physiological functions.
Ethanol has been shown to affect some aspects of calcium metabolism in
cellular function, such as intracellular binding of calcium in
synaptosomes, voltage dependent influx of calcium into nerve endings,
uptake of calcium into mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum,
extractability of calmodulin from platelet membranes with EGTA, and
calcium-dependent neurotransmitter release. A long-term objective of this
project will be to understand the effects of ethanol on calcium-mediated
cellular functions of alcoholics. The experiments in the project will use platelets from alcoholic and
control subjects to test the hypothesis that acute and chronic ethanol
exposure alters neurotransmitter release by effects on calcium metabolic
functions that control [Ca++f]i. The release of neurotransmitter by nerve
endings and platelets is a function of the intracellular free calcium
concentration. The calcium metabolic functions we will study regulate the
free intracellular calcium concentration of platelets. The research subjects for these experiments will be alcoholics diagnosed by
certain biochemical procedures as well as DSM-III criteria for alcoholism.
Blood samples will be drawn from control subjects, tolerant alcoholic
subjects, and non-tolerant alcoholic subjects. The tolerant alcoholics
will be admitted to the Alcoholic Treatment Unit of the VA Hospital.
Control subjects will be age- and culture-matched male adults from the San
Antonio community who have been carefully screened, especially regarding
their ethanol consumption.
Effective start/end date4/1/863/31/89


  • National Institutes of Health


  • Medicine(all)


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