Research Article

Possible role of prostaglandin E1 in the affective disorders and in alcoholism.

Br Med J 1980; 280 doi: (Published 07 June 1980) Cite this as: Br Med J 1980;280:1363
  1. D F Horrobin,
  2. M S Manku


    Prostaglandin (PG)E1 may play an important part in the affective disorders, with an excess being present in mania and a deficiency in depression. Platelets from manic patients produce more PGE1 than normal while those from depressive patients produce less. Ethyl alcohol stimulates PGE1 production whereas lithium inhibits it. Alcoholics will tend to have raised PGE1 concentrations while drinking, but, because precursor supplies are limited, when alcohol concentrations fall PGE1 concentrations may fall sharply leading to depression. PGE1 biosynthesis may be affected by nutritional factors including essential fatty acids, pyridoxine, vitamin C, and zinc. Nutritional approaches may be of value in both depression and alcoholism.