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Hangover Headache

By Hannah Waters Hangover Headache Alfred Pasieka / Photo Researchers, Inc The paper C.R. Maxwell et al., “Acetate causes alcohol hangover headache in rats,” PLoS ONE, 5:e15963, 2010. Free F1000 Evaluation The finding While many people get a headache after drinking alcohol, migraineurs have more severe headaches induced by fewer drinks. Using a rat model of migraines, Michael Oshinsky of Thomas Jefferson University and colleagues show that the

By | May 1, 2011

Hangover Headache

Alfred Pasieka / Photo Researchers, Inc

The paper
C.R. Maxwell et al., “Acetate causes alcohol hangover headache in rats,” PLoS ONE, 5:e15963, 2010. Free F1000 Evaluation


The finding
While many people get a headache after drinking alcohol, migraineurs have more severe headaches induced by fewer drinks. Using a rat model of migraines, Michael Oshinsky of Thomas Jefferson University and colleagues show that the headache is caused by an alcohol metabolite, acetate, and that the pain can be blocked by caffeine.


The inkling
Researchers long assumed that the alcohol metabolite acetaldehyde caused alcohol-induced headaches, because disulfiram, a drug that blocks the breakdown of acetaldehyde to acetate in the bloodstream, causes headaches after a few drinks. However, acetaldehyde is metabolized quickly enough that it never reaches headache-causing levels without disulfiram, leading Oshinsky to question this hypothesis.


The metabolite
After sensitizing a pain circuit in the rats’ brains, the researchers varied the concentrations of alcohol metabolites in the rats’ blood to test which gave them headache-like pain. Higher concentrations of acetaldehyde did not cause a headache, but increased acetate did. “They challenged what had been a common assumption and showed that it just didn’t make any sense,” said F1000 member Peggy Mason.


The cure
Acetate can cause pain through the accumulation of one of its metabolites, adenosine. When caffeine, an adenosine receptor antagonist, was administered after alcohol, pain was blocked—but only until the caffeine was broken down. Next up is to see if the same mechanism holds true in nonmigraine alcohol-induced headaches.


F1000 evaluators: K. Hellman & P. Mason (Univ of Chicago)

Comments

Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 3

May 6, 2011

Now we know why coffee helps the sot.\n\nWhat does the raw egg do?
Avatar of: M Dixon

M Dixon

Posts: 11

May 7, 2011

\nAs an occasional migraine sufferer interesting to note as my headaches also appear easily after little to drink. Very interesting to have isolated the cause and cure.\nHow do they know a mouse has a headache \n\n
Avatar of: Samantha White

Samantha White

Posts: 1

May 10, 2011

New data on the biological cause of alcohol toxicity including cravings linked to abuse/dependency, and what doctors recommend to protect your health from morning after and long term health risks - http://acetaldehyde-hangover.blogspot.com
Avatar of: Kenneth Roy

Kenneth Roy

Posts: 11

May 27, 2011

I have a reasonable background in biochemistry and cannot imagine anyone considering adenosine to be a metabolite of acetate. Acetate is the anion form of acetic acid. Adenosine is a nucleoside, a far more complex molecule containing a ribose moiety and the purine base adenine. How this could be considered a metabolite of acetate is beyond my understanding.

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