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Behavioral and endocrine interactions between thyrotropin-releasing hormone and ethanol in normal human subjects.

Author(s): Garbutt JC, Hicks RE, Clayton CJ, Andrews RT, Mason GA

Affiliation(s): Center for Alcohol Studies, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Publication date & source: 1991-12, Alcohol Clin Exp Res., 15(6):1045-9.

Publication type: Clinical Trial; Randomized Controlled Trial

Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) has been shown to antagonize the depressant effects of ethanol in animals, but conflicting findings have been reported in humans. To test whether TRH counteracts any of a variety of ethanol-sensitive behavioral measures in normal human subjects and for an effect of ethanol on TRH-induced thyrotropin (TSH) and prolactin (PRL) response, we administered TRH (500 micrograms) or placebo over 1 min intravenously, 30 min after subjects had ingested 0.8 g/kg of ethanol or a placebo drink. Blood samples for TSH and PRL were drawn prior to and 15 and 30 min after injection. Eight male subjects were studied in a balanced, crossover design with each subject receiving placebo-placebo, TRH-placebo, placebo-ethanol, and TRH-ethanol. Whereas ethanol had significant and expected effects on subjective measures, memory, disinhibition, reaction time and time perception, TRH failed to counteract any ethanol effect, except for a small effect in one memory task. Similarly, no effect of ethanol on TRH-induced TSH or PRL response was found. Though the behavioral findings could be interpreted to indicate that TRH does not alter ethanol sensitive behaviors in humans it will be necessary to utilize higher dosages of TRH and/or TRH analogues before firmly drawing this conclusion.

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