Alcohol drinking: abnormal intake caused by tetrahydropapaveroline in brain

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Science  29 Apr 1977:
Vol. 196, Issue 4289, pp. 554-556
DOI: 10.1126/science.557839


Tetrahydropapaveroline (THP), a dopamine-dopaldehyde condensation product, was delivered directly into the cerebral ventricle of rats automatically every 15 minutes for 12 days. The animals were given access to both water and ethylalcohol, the latter being presented in 12 concentrations from 3 to 30 percent. Within 3 to 6 days of the start of the infusion of THP, the rats, which normally rejected alcohol, drank alcohol solutions in increasingly excessive amounts; this was accompanied by symptoms that were similar to those of withdrawal and intoxication. These results provide evidence that an abnormal metabolite in the brain may produce the addictive state caused by alcoholic beverages.