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Effects of chronic ethanol consumption on memory and molecular changes in the hippocampus of young adult Wistar rats

Elibol, Birsen
The aim of the present study was to examine retention of spatial reference memory after 6 (Experiment I) and 15days (Experiment II) of binge-like drinking and during alcohol withdrawal in young adult Wistar rats. Prior to alcohol treatment, rats received Morris Water Maze (MWM) training. Afterwards, rats were intragastrically administered ethanol at the dose increasing from 4.5g-to-12g/kg. Intubation control groups (n=7 and n=10, respectively) received infusions of a sucrose solution without ethanol. Subsequently, all subjects were given a single probe trial in the MWM to test memory retention. In both experiments, there were three alcohol groups: A0 group (n=7) tested 4h after the last alcohol administration for acute effects of ethanol; A24 group (n=7) tested 24h after alcohol cessation, when acute ethanol effects disappear but withdrawal symptoms does not develop yet; A72 group (n=7) tested 72h after the last ethanol infusion for withdrawal effects. Finally, potential molecular changes in hippocampus were examined using Fourier Transform Infra-Red (FT-IR) spectroscopy. The blood alcohol concentration was 605.67±36mg/dl. In Experiment I, due to the low overall level of performance in the memory retention task the behavioral effects of ethanol could not be evaluated and no significant betweengroup differences were observed in Experiment II. In Experiment I, no significant changes in the molecular make-up of the hippocampus were noted. Conversely, in Experiment II, significant changes in protein, lipid, and nucleic acid profiles related to ethanol intake and withdrawal were found. They are linked to both development of tolerance to ethanol and adverse withdrawal effects.