The Effects of Ethanol on Cerebral Regional Acetylcholine Concentration and Utilization

Telfair H. Parker, Roderick K. Roberts, George I. Henderson, Anastacio M. Hoyumpa, Dennis E. Schmidt, Steven Schenker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This study assessed the effect of alcohol, given as single increasing doses or chronically, on regional cerebral acetylcholine concentration. In the acute studies in both rats and mice, brain acetylcholine rose significantly, but modestly, at higher blood ethanol concentrations. This effect was most consistent in the corpus striatum. At low blood alcohol levels, when brain acetylcholine levels were unaltered, the utilization rate of acetylcholine decreased in all brain areas and this was statistically significant in the cortex and midbrain. By contrast, in rats exposed to chronic oral ethanol intake but studied when blood alcohol was normal, brain acetylcholine was unaltered. These data are most consistent with the concept that alcohol directly depresses neuronal function resulting in decreased release (utilization) of acetylcholine and at high alcohol concentrations induces a modest accumulation of acetylcholine in brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-275
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1978
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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