April 1988

Pathological GamblingA Psychobiological Study

Author Affiliations

From the Laboratory of Clinical Studies, DICBR, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Bethesda, Md (Drs Roy, Adinoff, Lamparski, and Linnoila and Ms Roehrich); Taylor Manor Hospital, Ellicott City, Md (Dr Custer); the National Center for Pathological Gambling, Baltimore (Dr Lorenz); and Fidia Georgetown Institute for the Neurosciences, Washington, DC (Drs Barbaccia, Costa, and Guidotti).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1988;45(4):369-373. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1988.01800280085011

• We investigated psychobiological substrates of pathological gambling by measuring levels of norepinephrine, monoamine metabolites, and peptides in cerebrospinal fluid, plasma, and urine. Pathological gamblers had a significantly higher centrally produced fraction of cerebrospinal fluid levels of 3-methoxy-4-hydroxyphenylglycol as well as significantly greater urinary outputs of norepinephrine than controls. These results suggest that pathological gamblers may have a functional disturbance of the noradrenergic system. This system has been postulated to underlie sensation-seeking behaviors, aspects of which are thought to be abnormal among pathological gamblers.