Drugs of abuse that cause developing neurons to commit suicide
by
Farber NB, Olney JW.
Department of Psychiatry,
Washington University,
Campus Box 8134, 660 S. Euclid Avenue,
63110-1093, St. Louis, MO, USA
Alcohol Alcohol Suppl 1996 Mar; 1:17-25


ABSTRACT

When neuronal activity is abnormally suppressed during the developmental period of synaptogenesis, the timing and sequence of synaptic connections is disrupted, and this causes nerve cells to receive an internal signal to commit suicide, a form of cell death known as "apoptosis". By altering glutamate and GABA transmission alcohol suppresses neuronal activity, causing millions of nerve cells to commit suicide in the developing brain. This proapoptotic effect of alcohol provides a likely explanation for the diminished brain size and lifelong neurobehavioral disturbances associated with the human fetal alcohol syndrome. These findings have public health significance, not only in relation to fetal alcohol syndrome, but also in relation to several other drugs of abuse and various drugs used in obstetric and pediatric medicine, because these additional drugs (e.g. phencyclidine, ketamine, benzodiazepines, barbiturates) also suppress neuronal activity and drive developing neurons to commit suicide.
GABA
Opioids
Reward
Alcohol
Serotonin
Dopamine
Tianeptine
Barbiturates
Acamprosate
GABA and sleep
Benzodiazepines
Drugs for alcoholics
GHB and alcoholism
SSRIs and alcoholics
Alcohol and citalopram
The motivation for beer
Tryptophan and alcoholism
Alcohol, suicide and serotonin
Drink, drugs and sex in antiquity


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