Oxytocin may play a crucial role in blocking the effects of alcohol, revealed researchers from the University of Sydney and the University of Regensburg.
During the study, oxytocin was infused into the brains of rats which were then given alcohol. This prevented the drunken lack of coordination caused by the alcohol. Researchers demonstrated that oxytocin prevents alcohol from accessing specific sites in the brain that cause alcohol's intoxicating effects, sites known as delta-subunit GABA-A receptors.
Dr Michael Bowen, School of Psychology, University of Sydney, said, "While oxytocin might reduce the level of intoxication, it won't actually change the blood alcohol level because it's preventing the alcohol from accessing the sites in the brain that make people intoxicated, it's not causing the alcohol to leave the system any faster."
This effect of oxytocin is yet to be shown in humans and the researchers plan to conduct these studies in the near future.
The study appears in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.