Alcohol consumption affects motor behavior and motor control. Both acute and chronic alcohol abuse have been extensively investigated; however, the therapeutic efficacy of alcohol on some movement disorders, such as myoclonus-dystonia or essential tremor, still does not have a plausible mechanistic explanation. Yet, there are surprisingly few systematic trials with known GABAergic drugs mimicking the effect of alcohol on neurotransmission. In this brief survey, we aim to summarize the effects of EtOH on striatal function, providing an overview of its cellular and synaptic actions in a ‘circuit-centered’ view. In addition, we will review both experimental and clinical evidence, in the attempt to provide a plausible mechanistic explanation for alcohol-responsive movement disorders, with particular emphasis on dystonia. Different hypotheses emerge, which may provide a rationale for the utilization of drugs that mimic alcohol effects, predicting potential drug repositioning.
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