Alcoholism pp 175-181 | Cite as

The Neurochemistry of Ethanol Tolerance

  • Boris Tabakoff
  • Paula L. Hoffman
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 206)


Tolerance to ethanol (alcohol) or any other drug is defined as an acquired resistance to the physiological and/or behavioral effects of the drug. Another empirical definition of tolerance is that a given dose of drug has less effect in an individual on his/her later exposures to the drug than on the first exposure. The phenomenon of tolerance, as well as the mechanisms underlying its development, can be complex (Tabakoff et al., 1982), ranging from changes in drug disposition or metabolism (“metabolic tolerance”), to alterations in the function of cells including the neurons of the central nervous system which result in drug resistance. The cellular adaptations to resist a drug’s actions are part of the phenomenon of “functional” tolerance and the processes that contribute to functional tolerance will be the focus of this discussion.


Ethanol Ingestion Arginine Vasopressin Chronic Ethanol Ethanol Tolerance Acute Tolerance 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Boris Tabakoff
    • 1
    • 2
  • Paula L. Hoffman
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PharmacologyUniv. of Colorado Hlth. Sci. Ctr.DenverUSA
  2. 2.Division of Intramural Clinical and Biological ResearchNational Institute on Alcohol Abuse and AlcoholismRockvilleUSA

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