Measuring Effects of Alcohol on Brain Chemistry

This study is currently recruiting participants. (see Contacts and Locations)
Verified August 2013 by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)
Sponsor:
Information provided by:
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:
NCT01492933
First received: December 14, 2011
Last updated: April 30, 2014
Last verified: August 2013
  Purpose

Background:

- Studies show that alcohol changes the amount of many brain chemicals. These changes may be related to continued drinking, craving for alcohol, and relapse. This study will use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to look at brain areas and brain chemistry during an infusion of alcohol. It will also study how changes in brain chemistry relate to participant reports of feeling drunk.

Objectives:

- To use magnetic resonance imaging to measure the effect of alcohol on brain chemistry

Eligibility:

  • Individuals between 21 and 45 years of age.
  • Participants will be either light drinkers (1 to 14 standard alcoholic drinks per week) or heavy drinkers (20 to 40 standard alcoholic drinks per week). A standard drink is a 12-ounce beer, a 4-ounce glass of wine, or a shot of liquor.
  • Participants must be able to go without alcohol for at least 3 days in a row without severe withdrawal symptoms.

Design:

  • This study requires two or three outpatient visits to the NIH Clinical Center.
  • Participants will have a physical exam and medical history. Blood and urine samples will be collected. Participants' alcohol drinking habits will also be assessed to determine whether they may have an alcohol use disorder.
  • At the first study visit, participants will have an infusion of alcohol. Blood samples will be collected to measure blood alcohol levels.
  • The MRI study visit will take place about 3 days after the first study visit. Participants will have an MRI scan of the brain, followed by an infusion of alcohol and another scan. Blood samples will be collected.
  • Participants will complete questionnaires before and after each infusion to measure their response to alcohol.
  • Heavy drinkers will come to the clinic for a third visit to discuss possible future treatment and any risky behavior associated with their high levels of alcohol use.

Condition Intervention Phase
Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
Ethanol
Spectroscopy
Drug: Alcohol
Phase 1

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Non-Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Pharmacodynamics Study
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Diagnostic
Official Title: Measuring Effects of Acute Ethanol on Human Brain Metabolites Using Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy

Resource links provided by NLM:


Further study details as provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • What is the correlation between measured blood and breath alcohol level and ethanol level concentration computed from MRS.
  • How does ethanol administration affect the brain metabolites, especially regarding glutamate?

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Does ethanol administration similarly affect the metabolite activities in all the regions of the brain Gray and White matter?

Estimated Enrollment: 80
Study Start Date: November 2011
Estimated Study Completion Date: December 2016
Estimated Primary Completion Date: December 2016 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Intervention Details:
    Drug: Alcohol
    N/A
Detailed Description:

Rodent studies have indicated that modulation of glutamatergic transmission contributes to alcohol intoxication, reinforcement, tolerance, and dependence. Brain microdialysis studies have in general shown that acute alcohol suppresses glutamate release, while alcohol withdrawal leads to progressively increased extracellular levels.

Here, we will use an acute, pharmacokinetically controlled alcohol challenge and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to study the relationship between brain alcohol and glutamate concentrations, and correlate these with subjective feelings of alcohol effects, as measured by the Drug Effects Questionnaire (DEQ) in human subjects. Correlations between MRS data and other behavioral data from the Sensitivity to Punishment and Sensitivity to Reward Questionnaire (SPSRQ), Alcohol Sensitivity Questionnaire (ASQ), and the Alcohol Effects Questionnaire (AEFQ) will be investigated.

Healthy participants aged 21-45, without gross impairment of judgment or complicated psychiatric or other morbidity, will receive a preliminary infusion to ensure no adverse effects from intravenous (IV) alcohol administration to a target BAC of 0.08g/dl. In a subsequent session, participants will be infused with alcohol to the same target level while being scanned in the MR scanner and reporting subjective feelings using the DEQ. Two groups of subjects will be recruited: heavy drinkers, classified as females who consume 15 plus drinks per week and males who consume 20 plus drinks per weekthose who consume between 20 and 40 drinks per week, and light drinkers, classified as females who consume between 1 and 10 drinks per week and males who consume between 1 and 14 drinks per week. those who consume between 1 and 14 drinks per week.

Central glutamate levels will be quantified at 3T using pharmacologically validated MRS methodology recently published from our laboratory, and its relationship to central alcohol levels will be determined. Relationships will also be analyzed between DEQ scores and brain glutamate and alcohol levels. Finally, it will be examined whether drinking history (i.e. being a light versus heavy drinker) is a moderator of any of these relationships.

  Eligibility

Ages Eligible for Study:   21 Years to 45 Years
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Criteria
  • INCLUSION CRITERIA (Light Drinkers)

    1. In good health as determined by medical history, physical exam, ECG and lab tests;
    2. Between 21 and 45 years of age;
    3. Currently consuming between 1 and 10 drinks per week for females and 1 and 14 drinks per week for males.

EXCLUSION CRITERIA (Light Drinkers)

  1. Have liver function tests (AST, ALT, GGT, ALP) 3-times the upper limit of normal (ULN); or have Total Bilirubin above 1.5 ULN and Albumin below 3.5 g/dL.
  2. Have fulfilled DSM-IV criteria for a current or past major psychiatric disorder including alcohol or other substance dependnece (excluding nicotine);
  3. Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) value over 35;
  4. Unable to stop taking any prescribed, non-prescribed, or over-the-counter medication or drugs 3 days prior to study days (excluding oral contraceptive agents). If a subject is taking a prescribed medication (excluding oral contraceptive agents) that is not take-as-needed they will be excluded from participation;
  5. Are pregnant, as determined by a negative pregnancy test, or lactating;
  6. Report to have a "facial flushing" response to the consumption of alcohol;
  7. Have never consumed at least two standard drinks of alcohol within one hour;
  8. Have ferromagnetic objects in their bodies, which might be adversely affected by MRI including implanted pacemakers, medication pumps, aneurysm clips, metallic prostheses (including metal pins and rods, heart valves or cochlear implants), shrapnel fragments, permanent eye liner or small metal fragments in the eye that welders and other metal works may have any doubt about presence of these objects will result in exclusion from this study);
  9. Regular tobacco users will be excluded from the study in order to avoid nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Occasional (not daily) use of tobacco products is acceptable;
  10. Unwilling to abstain from alcohol for at least 2 days prior to the studies.

INCLUSION CRITERIA (Heavy Drinkers)

  1. In good health as determined by medical history, physical exam, ECG and lab tests;
  2. Between 21 and 45 years of age;
  3. Currently consuming 15+ drinks for females and 20+ drinks for males;
  4. Not regularly abstinent for more than 3 days per week, but have abstained from alcohol for 3 consecutive days without experiencing withdrawal symptoms;
  5. Able to provide a plausible history that they can abstain from alcohol without significant withdrawal symptoms when coming to the clinic. In addition, participants will be asked to quantify their worst withdrawal symptoms using the Clinical Institute Withdrawal Assessment (CIWA) Instrument. Participants who score 8 or above will not be enrolled in the protocol;
  6. Not seeking treatment for their alcohol consumption.

EXCLUSION CRITERIA (Heavy Drinkers)

  1. Have liver function tests (AST, ALT, GGT, ALP) 3-times the upper limit of normal (ULN); or have Total Bilirubin above 1.5 ULN and Albumin below 3.5 g/dL.
  2. Have fulfilled DSM-IV criteria for a current or past major psychiatric disorder, including any substance dependence (excluding alcohol or nicotine) at any time;
  3. Have a Body Mass Index (BMI) value over 35;
  4. Unable to stop taking any prescribed, non-prescribed, or over-the-counter medication or drugs 3 days prior to study days (excluding oral contraceptive agents). If a subject is taking a prescribed medication (excluding oral contraceptive agents) that is not take-as-needed they will be excluded from participation;
  5. Are pregnant, as determined by a negative pregnancy test, or lactating;
  6. Report to have a "facial flushing" response to the consumption of alcohol;
  7. Have never consumed at least two standard drinks of alcohol within one hour;
  8. Have ferromagnetic objects in their bodies, which might be adversely affected by MRI including implanted pacemakers, medication pumps, aneurysm clips, metallic prostheses (including metal pins and rods, heart valves or cochlear implants), shrapnel fragments, permanent eye liner or small metal fragments in the eye that welders and other metal works may have any doubt about presence of these objects will result in exclusion from this study);
  9. Regular tobacco users will be excluded from the study in order to avoid nicotine withdrawal symptoms. Occasional (not daily) use of tobacco products is acceptable;
  10. Unwilling to abstain from alcohol for at least 2 days prior to the studies.
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01492933

Contacts
Contact: Reza Momenan, Ph.D. (301) 451-6972 rezam@mail.nih.gov

Locations
United States, Maryland
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike Recruiting
Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892
Contact: Rabina Joshi    301-402-5360    rabina.joshi@nih.gov   
Sponsors and Collaborators
Investigators
Principal Investigator: Reza Momenan, Ph.D. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
  More Information

Additional Information:
Publications:
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01492933     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 120032, 12-AA-0032
Study First Received: December 14, 2011
Last Updated: April 30, 2014
Health Authority: United States: Federal Government

Keywords provided by National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC):
Ethanol
Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
Spectroscopy
Alcohol Use

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Ethanol
Anti-Infective Agents, Local
Anti-Infective Agents
Therapeutic Uses
Pharmacologic Actions
Central Nervous System Depressants
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Central Nervous System Agents

ClinicalTrials.gov processed this record on August 18, 2014