Document Detail

Sex hormone activity in alcohol addiction: integrating organizational and activational effects.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22115850     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
There are well-known sex differences in the epidemiology and etiopathology of alcohol dependence. Male gender is a crucial risk factor for the onset of alcohol addiction. A directly modifying role of testosterone in alcohol addiction-related behavior is well established. Sex hormones exert both permanent (organizational) and transient (activational) effects on the human brain. The sensitive period for these effects lasts throughout life. In this article, we present a novel early sex hormone activity model of alcohol addiction. We propose that early exposure to sex hormones triggers structural (organizational) neuroadaptations. These neuroadaptations affect cellular and behavioral responses to adult sex hormones, sensitize the brain's reward system to the reinforcing properties of alcohol and modulate alcohol addictive behavior later in life. This review outlines clinical findings related to the early sex hormone activity model of alcohol addiction (handedness, the second-to-fourth-finger length ratio, and the androgen receptor and aromatase) and includes clinical and preclinical literature regarding the activational effects of sex hormones in alcohol drinking behavior. Furthermore, we discuss the role of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal and -gonadal axes and the opioid system in mediating the relationship between sex hormone activity and alcohol dependence. We conclude that a combination of exposure to sex hormones in utero and during early development contributes to the risk of alcohol addiction later in life. The early sex hormone activity model of alcohol addiction may prove to be a valuable tool in the development of preventive and therapeutic strategies.
Bernd Lenz; Christian P Müller; Christina Stoessel; Wolfgang Sperling; Teresa Biermann; Thomas Hillemacher; Stefan Bleich; Johannes Kornhuber
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2011-11-18
Journal Detail:
Title:  Progress in neurobiology     Volume:  96     ISSN:  1873-5118     ISO Abbreviation:  Prog. Neurobiol.     Publication Date:  2012 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-01-24     Completed Date:  2012-05-07     Revised Date:  2014-03-25    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0370121     Medline TA:  Prog Neurobiol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  136-63     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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MeSH Terms
Alcoholism / physiopathology*
Aromatase / metabolism
Biological Markers / metabolism
Ethanol / metabolism
Functional Laterality
Gonadal Steroid Hormones / chemistry,  metabolism*
Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / physiology
Molecular Structure
Pituitary-Adrenal System / physiology
Receptors, Androgen / metabolism
Sex Characteristics
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Biological Markers; 0/Gonadal Steroid Hormones; 0/Receptors, Androgen; 3K9958V90M/Ethanol; EC

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