Developmental Exposure Alcohol Research Center

Baltimore, MD, United States

Developmental Exposure Alcohol Research Center

Baltimore, MD, United States

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Gano A.,Developmental Exposure Alcohol Research Center | Pautassi R.M.,National University of Cordoba | Doremus-Fitzwater T.L.,Ithaca College | Deak T.,Developmental Exposure Alcohol Research Center
Experimental Biology and Medicine | Year: 2017

Several studies indicate that the immune system can be subjected to classical conditioning. Acute ethanol intoxication significantly modulates several pro-inflammatory cytokines (e.g. interleukins-1 and 6 [IL-1β and IL-6, respectively] and tumor necrosis factor alpha [TNFα])) in several brain areas, including amygdala (AMG), paraventricular nucleus (PVN), and hippocampus (HPC). It is unknown, however, whether cues associated with ethanol can elicit conditioned alterations in cytokine expression. The present study analyzed, in male Sprague-Dawley rats, whether ethanol-induced changes in the central cytokine response may be amenable to conditioning. In Experiments 1 and 2, the rats were given one or two pairings between a distinctive odor (conditional stimulus, CS) and the post-absorptive effects of a high (3.0 or 4.0 g/kg, Experiments 1 and 2, respectively) ethanol dose. Neither of these experiments revealed conditioning of IL-6, IL-1β, or TNFα, as measured via mRNA levels. Yet, re-exposure to the lemon-odor CS in Experiment 1 significantly increased C-Fos levels in the PVN. In Experiment 3, the rats were given four pairings between an odor CS and a moderate ethanol dose (2.0 g/kg), delivered intraperitoneally (i.p.) or intragastrically (i.g.). Re-exposure to the odor CS significantly increased IL-6 levels in HPC and AMG, an effect only evident in paired rats administered ethanol i.p. Overall, this study suggests that ethanol exposure can regulate the levels of IL-6 at HPC and AMG via classical conditioning mechanisms. These ethanol-induced, conditioned alterations in cytokine levels may ultimately affect the intake and motivational effects of ethanol. Impact statement: This study examines, across three experiments, whether odor cues associated with ethanol exposure can condition changes in cytokine expression. The analysis of ethanol-induced conditioning of immune responses is a novel niche that can help understand the transition from social drinking to alcohol abuse and dependence. Ethanol-induced conditioning of the immune system could likely exacerbate neuroinflammation and drug-related toxicity, which in turn may facilitate further engagement in ethanol intake. The main new finding of the present study was that, after four pairings of ethanol’s unconditioned effects and a distinctive odor, the latter CS increased IL-6 levels in HPC and AMG. This suggests that ethanol’s effects upon IL-6 in HPC and AMG may come under conditioned control, particularly after repeated pairings between distinctive odor cues and ethanol’s effects. This article advances our knowledge of conditioned increases in cytokine responses, which should help understand the mechanisms underlying alcohol use, abuse, and relapse. © 2017, © 2017 by the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine.


Varlinskaya E.I.,Binghamton University State University of New York | Vogt B.A.,Developmental Exposure Alcohol Research Center | Vogt B.A.,Cingulum Neurosciences Institute | Spear L.P.,Binghamton University State University of New York
Developmental Psychobiology | Year: 2013

The study assessed possible age differences in brain activation patterns to low dose ethanol (5g/kg intraperitoneally) and the influence of social context on this activation. Early adolescent or young adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were placed either alone or with an unfamiliar partner of the same age and sex following saline or ethanol administration. c-Fos protein immunoreactivity was used to index neuronal activation in 15 regions of interest. Ethanol had little effect on c-Fos activation. In adolescents, social context activated an "autonomic" network including the basolateral and central amygdala, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, lateral hypothalamus, and lateral septum. In contrast, when adult rats were alone, activation was evident in a "reward" network that included the substantia nigra, nucleus accumbens, anterior cingulate and orbitofrontal cortices, lateral parabrachial nucleus, and locus coeruleus. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Cohen O.S.,SUNY Upstate Medical University | Varlinskaya E.I.,Binghamton University State University of New York | Wilson C.A.,SUNY Upstate Medical University | Glatt S.J.,SUNY Upstate Medical University | And 2 more authors.
International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience | Year: 2013

Prenatal exposure to moderate doses of valproic acid (VPA) produces brainstem abnormalities, while higher doses of this teratogen elicit social deficits in the rat. In this pilot study, we examined effects of prenatal exposure to a moderate dose of VPA on behavior and on transcriptomic expression in three brain regions that mediate social behavior. Pregnant Long Evans rats were injected with 350. mg/kg VPA or saline on gestational day 13. A modified social interaction test was used to assess social behavior and social preference/avoidance during early and late adolescence and in adulthood. VPA-exposed animals demonstrated more social investigation and play fighting than control animals. Social investigation, play fighting, and contact behavior also differed as a function of age; the frequency of these behaviors increased in late adolescence. Social preference and locomotor activity under social circumstances were unaffected by treatment or age. Thus, a moderate prenatal dose of VPA produces behavioral alterations that are substantially different from the outcomes that occur following exposure to a higher dose. At adulthood, VPA-exposed subjects exhibited transcriptomic abnormalities in three brain regions: anterior amygdala, cerebellar vermis, and orbitofrontal cortex. A common feature among the proteins encoded by the dysregulated genes was their ability to be modulated by acetylation. Analysis of the expression of individual exons also revealed that genes involved in post-translational modification and epigenetic regulation had particular isoforms that were ubiquitously dysregulated across brain regions. The vulnerability of these genes to the epigenetic effects of VPA may highlight potential mechanisms by which prenatal VPA exposure alters the development of social behavior. © 2013 ISDN.

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