Article

An endocannabinoid signal associated with desire for alcohol is suppressed in recently abstinent alcoholics.

Department of Pharmacology, University of California, Irvine, 3101 Gillespie NRF, Irvine, CA 92697, USA.
Psychopharmacology (Impact Factor: 3.99). 05/2009; 205(1):63-72. DOI: 10.1007/s00213-009-1518-3
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Alcoholics report persistent alcohol craving that is heightened by cognitive cues, stressful situations, and abstinence. The role of endogenous cannabinoids in human alcohol craving--though long suspected--remains elusive.
We employed laboratory exposure to stress, alcohol cue, and neutral relaxed situations through guided imagery procedures to evoke alcohol desire and craving in healthy social drinkers (n = 11) and in treatment-engaged, recently abstinent alcoholic subjects (n = 12) and assessed alcohol craving, heart rate, and changes in circulating endocannabinoid levels. Subjective anxiety was also measured as a manipulation check for the procedures.
In healthy social drinkers, alcohol cue imagery increased circulating levels of the endocannabinoid anandamide, whereas neutral and stress-related imagery had no such effect. Notably, baseline and response anandamide levels in these subjects were negatively and positively correlated with self-reported alcohol craving scores, respectively. Cue-induced increases in heart rate were also correlated with anandamide responses. By contrast, no imagery-induced anandamide mobilization was observed in alcoholics, whose baseline anandamide levels were markedly reduced compared to healthy drinkers and were uncorrelated to either alcohol craving or heart rate.
The results suggest that plasma anandamide levels provide a marker of the desire for alcohol in social drinkers, which is suppressed in recently abstinent alcoholics.

Full-text

Available from: Rajita Sinha, Oct 27, 2014
0 Followers
 · 
108 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: María Pedraz, Pedro Araos and Nuria García-Marchena have contributed equally to this work. There are sex differences in the progression of drug addiction, relapse, and response to therapies. Because biological factors participate in these differences, they should be considered when using biomarkers for addiction. In the current study, we evaluated the sex differences in psychiatric comorbidity and the concentrations of plasma mediators that have been reported to be affected by cocaine. Fifty-five abstinent cocaine-addicted subjects diagnosed with lifetime cocaine use disorders (40 men and 15 women) and 73 healthy controls (48 men and 25 women) were clinically assessed with the diagnostic interview " Psychiatric Research Interview for Substance and Mental Disorders. " Plasma concentrations of chemokines, cytokines, N-acyl-ethanolamines, and 2-acyl-glycerols were analyzed according to history of cocaine addiction and sex, controlling for covariates age and body mass index (BMI). Relationships between these concentrations and variables related to cocaine addiction were also analyzed in addicted subjects. The results showed that the concentrations of chemokine (CC motif) ligand 2/monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (CCL2/MCP-1) and chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 12/stromal cell-derived factor-1 (CXCL12/SDF-1) were only affected by history of cocaine addiction. The plasma concentrations of interleukin 1-beta (IL-1β), IL-6, IL-10, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα) were affected by history of cocaine addiction and sex. In fact, whereas cytokine concentrations were higher in control women relative to men, these concentrations were reduced in cocaine-addicted women without changes in addicted men. Regarding fatty acid derivatives, history of cocaine addiction had a main effect on the concentration of each acyl derivative, whereas N-acyl-ethanolamines were increased overall in the cocaine group, 2-acyl-glycerols were decreased. Interestingly, N-palmitoleoyl-ethanolamine (POEA) was only increased in cocaine-addicted women. The covariate BMI had a significant effect on POEA and N-arachidonoyl-ethanolamine concentrations. Regarding psychiatric comorbidity in the cocaine group, women had lower incidence rates of comorbid substance use disorders than did men. For example, alcohol use disorders were found in 80% of men and 40% of women. In contrast, the addicted women had increased prevalences of comorbid psychiatric disorders (i.e., mood, anxiety, and psychosis disorders). Additionally, cocaine-addicted subjects showed a relationship between the concentrations of N-stearoyl-ethanolamine and 2-linoleoyl-glycerol and diagnosis of psychiatric comorbidity. These results demonstrate the existence of a sex influence on plasma biomarkers for cocaine addiction and on the presence of comorbid psychopathologies for clinical purposes.
    Frontiers in Psychiatry 03/2015; 6(17 1). DOI:10.3389/fpsyt.2015.00017
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A family history (FH) of alcoholism accounts for approximately 50 % of the risk of developing alcohol problems. Several lines of preclinical evidence suggest that brain cannabinoid receptor (CB1R) function may mediate the effects of alcohol and risk for developing alcoholism including the observations that reduced CB1R function decreases alcohol-related behaviors and enhanced CB1R function increases them. In this first human study, we probed CB1R function in individuals vulnerable to alcoholism with the exogenous cannabinoid Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ(9)-THC). Healthy volunteers (n = 30) participated in a three test day study during which they received 0.018 and 0.036 mg/kg of Δ(9)-THC, or placebo intravenously in a randomized, counterbalanced order under double-blind conditions. Primary outcome measures were subjective "high," perceptual alterations, and memory impairment. Secondary outcome measures consisted of stimulatory and depressant subjective effects, attention, spatial memory, executive function, Δ(9)-THC and 11-hydroxy-THC blood levels, and other subjective effects. FH was calculated using the Family Pattern Density method and was used as a continuous variable. Greater FH was correlated with greater "high" and perceptual alterations induced by Δ(9)-THC. This enhanced sensitivity with increasing FH was specific to Δ(9)-THC's rewarding effects and persisted even when FH was calculated using an alternate method. Enhanced sensitivity to the rewarding effects of Δ(9)-THC in high-FH volunteers suggests that alterations in CB1R function might contribute to alcohol misuse vulnerability.
    Psychopharmacology 01/2014; 231(12). DOI:10.1007/s00213-013-3402-4 · 3.99 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cocaine is associated with serious health problems including psychiatric co-morbidity. There is a need for the identification of biomarkers for the stratification of cocaine-addicted subjects. Several studies have evaluated circulating endocannabinoid-related lipids as biomarkers of inflammatory, metabolic and mental disorders. However, little is known in substance use disorders. This study characterizes both free N-acyl-ethanolamines (NAEs) and 2-acyl-glycerols in abstinent cocaine addicts from outpatient treatment programs who were diagnosed with cocaine use disorder (CUD; n = 88), and age-/gender-/body mass-matched healthy control volunteers (n = 46). Substance and mental disorders that commonly occur with substance abuse were assessed by the semi-structured interview 'Psychiatric Research Interview for Substance and Mental Diseases' according to the 'Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision' (DSM-IV-TR) and plasma-free acyl derivatives were quantified by a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry system. The results indicate that plasma acyl derivatives are altered in abstinent cocaine-addicted subjects with CUD (CUD subjects). While NAEs were found to be increased, 2-acyl-glycerols were decreased in CUD subjects compared with controls. Multivariate predictive models based on these lipids as explanatory variables were developed to distinguish CUD subjects from controls providing high discriminatory power. However, these alterations were not influenced by the DSM-IV-TR criteria for cocaine abuse and dependence as cocaine trait severity measure. In contrast, we observed that some free acyl derivatives in CUD subjects were found to be affected by the diagnosis of some co-morbid psychiatric disorders. Thus, we found that the monounsaturated NAEs were significantly elevated in CUD subjects diagnosed with mood [N-oleoyl-ethanolamine and N-palmitoleoyl-ethanolamine (POEA)] and anxiety (POEA) disorders compared with non-co-morbid CUD subjects. Interestingly, the coexistence of alcohol use disorders did not influence the circulating levels of these free acyl derivatives. In summary, we have identified plasma-free acyl derivatives that might serve as reliable biomarkers for CUD. Furthermore, we found that monounsaturated NAE levels are also enhanced by co-morbid mood and anxiety disorders in cocaine addicts. These findings open the way for the development of new strategies for cocaine addiction diagnosis and treatment.
    Addiction Biology 11/2013; 18(6):955-969. DOI:10.1111/adb.12107 · 5.93 Impact Factor