A Role for Tetrahydroisoquinoline Alkaloids as False Adrenergic Neurotransmitters in Alcoholism

  • Gerald Cohen
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 35)


The plant alkaloids comprise a broad grouping of compounds, many of which exhibit drug action in man (Robinson, 1968). A subclassification is the tetrahydroisoquinoline (TIQ) group, which contains compounds that are related structurally to the catecholamines, viz. dopamine (DA), norepinephrine (NE) and epinephrine (E). The main thesis of this paper is that a group of TIQ alkaloids can be biosynthesized in people during alcohol intake, and that these substances can then function as false adrenergic transmitters (Cohen and Collins, 1970). By interfering with adrenergic mechanisms in the brain and in the periphery, biosynthesized TIQ alkaloids may be capable of altering mood and behavior. In this way, they may play a role during alcohol intoxication and in post-intoxication states.


Nerve Terminal Pineal Gland Adrenal Medulla Nerve Plexus Isoquinoline Alkaloid 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerald Cohen
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Physicians & SurgeonsColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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