Family History of Alcoholism Does Not Influence Adrenocortical Hyporesponsiveness in Abstinent Alcohol-Dependent Men

ArticleinThe American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse 34(2):151-60 · February 2008with10 Reads
Impact Factor: 1.78 · DOI: 10.1080/00952990701877011 · Source: PubMed


    Early abstinence in alcohol-dependent subjects is marked by adrenocortical hyporesponsivity. However, it is uncertain whether the blunted response is primarily attributable to a genetic vulnerability or to the chronic abuse of alcohol. In the present study, the authors investigated the influence of a family history (FH) of alcoholism upon suppressed glucocorticoid reactivity.
    Twenty-two abstinent alcohol-dependent and 14 control men were studied. The cortisol response was assessed in 11 patients following oCRH infusion (.4 ug/kg) and in a separate group of 11 patients following cosyntropin infusion (.01 ug/kg) preceded by high-dose intravenous dexamethasone (8 mg). FH, as determined by self-report, was assessed using two different methods: history of parental alcoholism and number of alcohol-dependent first- and second-degree relatives.
    Neither a parental history or familial loading of alcoholism had a significant effect upon glucocorticoid responsivity in abstinent alcohol-dependent men.
    Adrenocorticol responsiveness in recently abstinent alcohol-dependent men does not appear to reflect a preexisting biologic vulnerability to alcoholism.