Ethanol induces hydroxytyrosol formation in humans

Clara Pérez-Mañá, Magí Farré, Mitona Pujadas, Cristina Mustata, Esther Menoyo, Antoni Pastor, Klaus Langohr, Rafael De La Torre

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13 Citations (Scopus)


©2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Previous studies in animals have shown an increase of hydroxytyrosol (OHTyr), a potent phenolic antioxidant and a minor metabolite of dopamine (also called 3,4-dihydroxyphenylethanol or DOPET), after ethanol intake. The interaction between ethanol and dopamine metabolism is the probable mechanism involved. The aim of the study was to establish the contribution of the dose of ethanol on OHTyr formation. 24 healthy male volunteers were included. Subjects were distributed in three different cohorts and each volunteer received two doses of ethanol or placebo. Doses of ethanol administered were 6, 12, 18, 24, 30 and 42 g. Study design was double-blind, randomized, crossover and controlled. Hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol (Tyr), 3,4-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid (DOPAC), and homovanillic acid (HVA) urinary excretion, ethanol plasma concentrations and drunkenness were evaluated along a 6-h period. Urinary excretion of OHTyr and Tyr increased with ethanol administered dose. A reduction in the ratio DOPAC/OHTyr from placebo to the highest dose was observed, compatible with a shift in the dopamine metabolism to preferently produce OHTyr instead of DOPAC. Also a dose-dependent increase in plasma ethanol concentrations and subjective effects was observed. This study demonstrates an endogenous production of OHTyr and Tyr in relation to ethanol administered dose in humans. Biological effects of both phenols from this source should be investigated in future studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-33
JournalPharmacological Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2015


  • Alcohol
  • Dopamine
  • Hydroxytyrosol
  • Tyrosol

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