Studies Examine Importance of Histamine in Alcohol Use

The behavior that is exhibited as a result of alcohol consumption can often be embarrassing or even destructive. The histamine-3 receptor plays an important role in alcohol-related behavior and a drug that can impact this receptor could offer hope. Science Daily recently reported on a study headed by Pertti Panula that examines whether or not these drugs can make a difference in the effects of alcohol consumption. This study was part of the Substance Use and Addictions research program of the Academy of Finland. “Whether these histamine-3 receptor drugs help in the treatment of human alcoholism will probably be clear when the results of the currently ongoing clinical trials become public. The drugs are currently being tested for the treatment of conditions such as observation disorders, sleep disorders and narcolepsy,” said Professor Panula, in the Science Daily. Neurotransmitters are important to the functioning of the brain and include such well-known elements such as dopamine, serotonin and histamine. The histamine element is better known for the regulation of allergies and stomach functioning. There is also an extensive histamine system in the human brain. In previous studies, Panula found that the histamine system of the brain is part of the mechanism that regulates alcohol consumption. In the latest study, it was found that the lack of histamine reduced the likelihood of a lively reaction to the alcohol. At the same time, the rewarding please effect of the alcohol was stronger when histamine was lacking. Panula also found that the effects of alcohol that cause liveliness and pleasure changed noticeable when the histamine-3 receptor blocker was used. These results suggest that transmitter histamine contributes to the transmission of the stimulating and pleasing effect of alcohol on the brain.

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