Adaptation in Membrane Ca2+ Channels as a Basis for Alcohol‐Related Pathology

J. M. Littleton, J. C. Harper, C. H. Brennan, L. J. Guppy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Abstract: This paper is a review, based largely though not exclusively on work from the authors' research group, of the role of Ca2+ channels in the actions of ethanol. The position is taken that an important consequence of the presence of ethanol in the region of excitable cells is a reduction in voltage‐activation of membrane ion channels with a resulting decrease in cellular excitability. We suggest that excitable cells adapt to this effect by increasing the number of Ca2+ channels on the cell membrane. The channels are of a subtype which are inhibited by the dihydropyridine Ca2+ “antagonist” drugs. Although the mechanism of Ca2+ channel up‐regulation is an effective short‐term measure as adaptation against the acute effects of ethanol, we consider it may have detrimental longer term consequences including physical dependence and alcohol‐related pathology including the death of excitable cells. 1988 Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-38
Number of pages4
JournalAustralian Drug and Alcohol Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1988


  • Alcohol
  • alcoholism
  • calcium channel blockers
  • ethyl‐toxicity
  • ion channels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)


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