Correa, Mercè and Salamone, John D. and Segovia, Kristen N. and Pardo, Marta and Longoni, Rosanna and Spina, Liliana and Peana, Alessandra Tiziana and Vinci, Stefania and Acquas, Elio (2012) Piecing together the puzzle of acetaldehyde as a neuroactive agent. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, Vol. 36 (1), p. 404-430. ISSN 0149-7634. eISSN 1873-7528. Article.
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Mainly known for its more famous parent compound, ethanol, acetaldehyde was first studied in the 1940s, but then research interest in this compound waned. However, in the last two decades, research on acetaldehyde has seen a revitalized and uninterrupted interest. Acetaldehyde, per se, and as a product of ethanol metabolism, is responsible for many pharmacological effects which are not clearly distinguishable from those of its parent compound, ethanol. Consequently, the most recent advances in acetaldehyde's psychopharmacology have been inspired by the experimental approach to test the hypothesis that some of the effects of ethanol are mediated by acetaldehyde and, in this regard, the characterization of metabolic pathways for ethanol and the localization within discrete brain regions of these effects have revitalized the interest on the role of acetaldehyde in ethanol's central effects. Here we present and discuss a wealth of experimental evidence that converges to suggest that acetaldehyde is an intrinsically active compound, is metabolically generated in the brain and, finally, mediates many of the psychopharmacological properties of ethanol.
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