chapter  5
10 Pages

Endocrine Changes in Alcoholism With Special Reference to Gastrointestinal Hormones

ByHarry S. Ojeas, Richard F. Harty, David Van Thiel

This chapter reviews pertinent clinical and experimental information that examines the causal relationships between alcohol effector substances and target cells within the gut-endocrine system. Alcohol (ethanol) has profound effects on several organ systems. The mechanisms by which this drug exerts its potentially toxic effects have been enumerated or postulated. When considering the effects of alcohol on the gastrointestinal endocrine system and the hormones it produces and secretes, it is helpful to define several terms and concepts. Sensory afferent nerves in the esophagus, as in the stomach, respond to luminal stimuli by transmitting signals to the central nervous system. Ingestion of ethanol at concentrations ranging from 1 to 5% results in a modest stimulation of gastric acid secretion. On the other hand, higher concentrations of ethanol have either no effect or inhibit gastric acid secretion. Gastric acid secretion stimulated by low concentrations of ethanol is prevented by both muscarinic and histamine receptor blockade.