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Dopaminergic responsivity in alcoholism: trait, state, or residual marker?
Am J Psychiatry 1995;152:1317-1321.
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: In order to classify neuroendocrine abnormalities in alcohol- dependent patients as trait, state, or residual markers, growth hormone (GH) secretion was assessed longitudinally. METHOD: GH secretion, stimulated by the dopaminergic agonist apomorphine, was evaluated in 21 alcohol-dependent patients (16 men, five women) and 10 healthy comparison subjects (eight men, two women). The patients were tested during early withdrawal, after 8 days of abstinence, and after 3 months. RESULTS: Patients who relapsed within 3 months (N = 8) showed significantly less GH secretion in all neuroendocrine tests than did either the patients who abstained from ethanol consumption for 6 months (N = 13) or the healthy comparison subjects. The relapsers and abstainers did not differ significantly in any of their clinical or pathophysiological data, in the severity of their withdrawal symptoms, or in antecedent or concomitant illnesses associated with alcoholism. CONCLUSIONS: GH blunting appears to be a residual marker of clinical relevance in alcoholism.

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