Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology

, Volume 465, Issue 5, pp 643–654

Sex differences in neuroadaptation to alcohol and withdrawal neurotoxicity

  • Lynda Sharrett-Field
  • Tracy R. Butler
  • Anna R. Reynolds
  • Jennifer N. Berry
  • Mark A. Prendergast
Invited Review

DOI: 10.1007/s00424-013-1266-4

Cite this article as:
Sharrett-Field, L., Butler, T.R., Reynolds, A.R. et al. Pflugers Arch - Eur J Physiol (2013) 465: 643. doi:10.1007/s00424-013-1266-4

Abstract

Recent work suggests that sex differences exist with regard to both the nature of neuroadaptation to alcohol during the development of dependence, and possibly, the neurodegenerative consequences of alcohol dependence. Volumetric studies in human samples show that females may demonstrate increased volumetric brain loss with equal or lesser dependence histories than males. Furthermore, animal studies demonstrate sex differences in glutamatergic, GABAergic, and adenosinergic receptor signaling and endocrine responses following prolonged alcohol exposure. These differences may influence the development of dependence, neuronal function, and viability, particularly during alcohol withdrawal. The present review discusses the current state of knowledge in this regard. It is concluded that there exists a clear need for a more extensive examination of potential sex differences in neurodegenerative consequences of alcohol dependence in men and women, particularly with regard to the role that alterations in amino acid signaling and hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis function may play. Furthermore, we note the need for expanded examination of the unique role that alcohol withdrawal-associated neuronal activity may have in the development of dependence-associated neurotoxicity.

Keyword

GenderAlcohol dependenceDetoxificationBrainGlutamateγ-aminobutyric acidHippocampusCorticosteroid

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lynda Sharrett-Field
    • 1
  • Tracy R. Butler
    • 2
  • Anna R. Reynolds
    • 1
  • Jennifer N. Berry
    • 1
  • Mark A. Prendergast
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research CenterUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physiology and PharmacologyWake Forest School of MedicineWinston-SalemUSA