Initial ethanol exposure results in decreased heart rate variability in ethanol-naive rhesus monkeys

Eur J Pharmacol. 2001 Dec 21;433(2-3):169-72. doi: 10.1016/s0014-2999(01)01445-5.


Ethanol's effects on heart rate variability may contribute to the increased cardiac disease and mortality observed in alcoholics. We assessed cardiac response to ethanol in seven previously ethanol-naive monkeys given a standard dose of ethanol, or saline. Ethanol exposure reduced cardiac signal complexity [mean+/-S.D. (ethanol: Hurst parameter=0.39+/-0.02; saline: Hurst parameter=0.32+/-0.06)] and increased the spectral exponent (ethanol: beta=1.36+/-0.35; saline: beta=1.12+/-0.35) when compared to saline, while heart rate itself was unaffected (saline: interbeat interval=303.57+/-24.57; ethanol: interbeat interval=308.14+/-20.45). Taken together with data that show autonomic disregulation in alcoholics, these findings provide further evidence of deleterious ethanol effects on cardiac signal dynamics.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autonomic Nervous System / drug effects
  • Ethanol / blood
  • Ethanol / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / drug effects*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Peripheral Nervous System / drug effects


  • Ethanol