Acetaldehyde and salsolinol in ethanol’s two-step mechanism of action: An overview

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Angela Cavallaro *
Gianluca Lavanco
Marco Giammanco
Emanuele Cannizzaro
(*) Corresponding Author:
Angela Cavallaro | angela.cavallaro3@gmail.com

Abstract

In the last years, numerous studies have supported the idea that, at least in part, motivational and neuropharmacological effects of ethanol are mediated by its first brain-derived metabolite, acetaldehyde, and its bioderivate salsolinol. This review aims at gathering and shaping as a whole the evidence on their role in the mechanism of action of ethanol. Acetaldehyde and salsolinol interact with the reward brain system and are involved as primum movens of motivational and addictive behaviour that can be especially relevant to ethanol use disorders. Understanding the neurobiology of acetaldehyde and salsolinol holds promising potential for the development of novel pharmacological approaches for reducing ethanol abuse.

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