Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Jurgen Venitz


The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the effects of smoking and gender on 1) tetrahydroisoquinolines (TIQs) and beta-carbolines (BCs) in a population of healthy subjects and 2) TIQs in an alcohol-dependent population undergoing in-patient detoxification. Comparison in plasma TIQs between the populations was additionally conducted. To support the clinical investigations, a HPLC-FD method was developed and validated to assess plasma concentrations of BCs, harman and norharman, while a HPLC-ESI-MS/MS method was validated to quantify the TIQs, R/S-salsolinol along with dopamine. Forty-one young volunteers were recruited including 19 nonsmokers (NS), 11 light smokers (LS) and 11 heavy smokers (HS), stratified by their smoking history. Each group had, at least, 5 males and females. Plasma samples were obtained for analyte measurement within 30 minutes of smoking for LS and HS groups. Two–way ANCOVA was performed on the log-transformed concentrations. Significant differences were found between HS-NS and LS-NS in analyte concentrations. A comparison to eighteen subjects (6 NS, LS and HS) abstaining from smoking for 15 hours resulted in a difference only between NS and HS, suggesting that acute tobacco smoking has a major influence on circulating TIQs and BCs between smoking status groups. In a study involving thirty-five alcohol dependent subjects (12 NS, 11 LS, and 12 HS, balanced with gender), TIQ measurements were taken on day 1, 2, 3, 8 and 15 of inpatient detoxification. A significant effect of time was observed, with TIQ concentrations slightly increasing from admission to day 15. Both factors of smoking status and gender did not have a significant effect on plasma TIQ's at any of the time points evaluated. Although, measures of acute and chronic alcohol intake had no effect on TIQ levels, liver function showed moderate correlation with plasma TIQs. Comparison of both populations showed that alcoholics had a lower average TIQ concentration than healthy subjects. The results indicate that smoking status 1) has an effect on plasma TIQs and BCs in healthy individuals and 2) does not have an effect in alcoholics during detoxification. The alcoholics possessed lower TIQ concentrations than the healthy subjects. No gender effect was observed in either study.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008