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Arginine vasopressin maintains ethanol tolerance


THE neurohypophyseal hormone, [Arg8]vasopressin (AVP), like some of its analogues and smaller peptides of related structure, has the capacity to influence memory-related processes through direct action in the central nervous system1–4. These peptides have relatively long-lasting effects on memory consolidation or on retrieval of information1,5. It has been suggested that development of functional tolerance to drug effects involves an adaptive mechanism in the CNS similar to that which occurs during learning and/or memory consolidation6,7. We therefore wished to extend our studies4 of the central actions of the neurohypophyseal hormones to include an investigation of the influence of these peptides on various aspects of functional tolerance to ethanol. One of the most consistently demonstrable effects of the neurohypophyseal peptides with respect to memory is the ability to inhibit the extinction of a conditioned avoidance response1–3,5. We now present evidence that treatment of animals with AVP during and after chronic ethanol administration leads to long-term maintenance of tolerance to the hypothermic and sedative effects of ethanol.

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HOFFMAN, P., RITZMANN, R., WALTER, R. et al. Arginine vasopressin maintains ethanol tolerance. Nature 276, 614–616 (1978).

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