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Journal Article


Hegerl U, Lipperheide K, Juckel G, Schmidt LG, Rommelspacher H. Alcohol Clin. Exp. Res. 1995; 19(1): 31-36.


Laboratory of Clinical Psychophysiology, Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin, Germany.


(Copyright © 1995, John Wiley and Sons)






Alcohol-dependent patients with antisocial, aggressive, and impulsive behaviors form a subgroup, in which a dysfunction of the brain serotonin system is discussed as a pathogenetic factor. Early onset and a transmission from fathers to sons (type II alcoholism; Cloninger, 1987) are supposedly further characteristics of this subgroup. The response pattern of primary auditory cortices to auditory stimuli with different intensities is discussed as a noninvasive indicator of the level of central serotonergic neurotransmission. A strong intensity dependence of these responses is supposed to indicate low serotonergic neurotransmission and vice versa. A strong intensity dependence is therefore expected to characterize patients with antisocial tendencies. Auditory-evoked potentials (N1/P2 component) to stimuli in five different intensities were recorded in 53 hospitalized patients after 1 week of withdrawal. Dipole source analysis was performed to separate responses of primary and secondary auditory cortices. Patients with antisocial tendencies showed a significantly stronger intensity dependence of their evoked responses of primary auditory cortices (tangential dipoles). Age at onset and family history were not related to the intensity dependence of the evoked responses. The results support the notion that alcohol-dependent patients with strong intensity dependence and antisocial tendencies form a subgroup with a serotonergic hypofunction. These patients may respond favorably to a relapse prevention with serotonergic drugs.

Language: en


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