Page last updated: September 12, 2018
Changes in the serum metabolite profile correlate with decreased brain grey matter volume in moderate-to-heavy-drinking young adults

Research from Finland has found that adolescent drinking is associated with changes in the metabolite profile. Some of these changes were found to correlate with reduced brain grey matter volume, especially in young women who are heavy drinkers. The findings shed new light on the biological implications of adolescent drinking, and could contribute to the development of new treatments.

The study was a 10-year follow-up study among adolescents living in eastern Finland. The researchers determined the metabolite profiles of heavy- and light-drinking young adults, and used MRI to measure their brain grey matter volumes. Study population consisted of young adults with a ten-year history of moderate-to-heavy alcohol consumption (n = 35) and light-drinking controls (n = 27).

Alterations in amino acid and energy metabolism were observed in the moderate-to-heavy drinking young adults when compared to the controls. The group of moderate-to-heavy drinking young adults had increased serum concentrations of 1-methylhistamine (p = 0.001, d = 0.82) when compared to the controls. Furthermore, concentrations of 1-methylhistamine (r = -0.48, p = 0.004) and creatine (r = -0.52, p = 0.001) were negatively correlated with the brain grey matter volumes in the females.

Overall, the results show an association between moderate-to-heavy use of alcohol and altered metabolite profile in young adults and suggest that some of these changes could be associated with the reduced brain grey matter volume. The authors commented that they observed metabolite profile changes even in young people who consumed alcohol at a level that is socially acceptable.

Source: Changes in the serum metabolite profile correlate with decreased brain grey matter volume in moderate-toheavy- drinking young adults. N Heikkinen, O Kärkkäinen, E Laukkanen, V Kekkonen, O Kaarre, P Kivimäki, M Könönen, V Velagapudi, J Nandania, S M.Lehto, E Niskanen,R Vanninen, T Tolmunen. Alcohol, available online 31 May 2018.

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