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Platelet monoamine oxidase activity predicts alcohol sensitivity and voluntary alcohol intake in rhesus monkeys.

Journal article
Authors Hanna-Linn Wargelius
Claudia Fahlke
Stephen J Suomi
Lars Oreland
James Dee Higley
Published in Upsala journal of medical sciences
Volume 115
Issue 1
Pages 49-55
ISSN 2000-1967
Publication year 2010
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 49-55
Language en
Keywords Aggression, Alcohol Drinking, Alcoholism, blood, Animals, Behavior, Animal, Ethanol, administration & dosage, Female, Hydroxyindoleacetic Acid, cerebrospinal fluid, Macaca mulatta, Male, Models, Statistical, Monoamine Oxidase, blood, Risk Factors
Subject categories Biological research on drug dependence


Platelet monoamine oxidase B (MAO-B) has been proposed to be a biological marker for the properties of monoamine systems, with low activity being associated with vulnerability for high scores on personality traits such as sensation seeking, monotony avoidance, and impulsiveness, as well as for vulnerability for alcoholism. In the present study, platelet MAO-B activity was analysed in 78 rhesus macaques, and its relation to voluntary alcohol intake and behaviours after intravenous alcohol administration was observed. Monkeys with low platelet MAO-B activity had low levels of 5-hydroxyindole acetic acid in cerebrospinal fluid and showed excessive aggression after alcohol administration. A novel finding was that animals with low platelet MAO-B activity showed less intoxication following alcohol administration. As we have shown previously, they also voluntarily consumed more alcohol. We here replicate results from studies on both humans and non-human primates, showing the utility of platelet MAO as a marker for risk behaviours and alcohol abuse. Furthermore, we link platelet MAO activity to alcohol sensitivity.

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