Effects of adolescent intermittent ethanol on hippocampal expression of glutamate homeostasis and astrocyte-neuronal tethering proteins in male and female rats.
Adolescent alcohol drinking is widely recognized as a significant public health problem, and evidence is accumulating that sufficient levels of consumption during this critical period of brain development have an enduring impact on neural and behavioral function. Recent studies have indicated that adolescent intermittent ethanol (AIE) exposure alters astrocyte function, astrocyte-neuronal interactions, and related synaptic regulation and activity. However, few of those studies have included female animals, and a broader assessment of AIE effects on the proteins mediating astrocyte-mediated glutamate dynamics and synaptic function is needed. We measured synaptic membrane expression of several such proteins in the dorsal and ventral regions of the hippocampal formation (DH, VH) from male and female rats exposed to AIE or adolescent intermittent water. In the DH, AIE caused elevated expression of glutamate transporter 1 (GLT-1) in both males and females, elevated postsynaptic density 95 expression in females only, and diminished NMDA receptor subunit 2A expression in males only. AIE and sex interactively altered ephrin receptor A4 (EphA4) expression in the DH. In the VH, AIE elevated expression of the cystine/glutamate antiporter and the glutamate aspartate transporter 1 (GLAST) in males only. Compared to males, female animals expressed lower levels of GLT-1 in the DH and greater levels of ephrin receptor B6 (EphB6) in the VH, in the absence of AIE effects. These results support the growing literature indicating that adolescent alcohol exposure produces long-lasting effects on astrocyte function and astrocyte-neuronal interactions. The sex and subregion specificity of these effects have mechanistic implications for our understanding of AIE effects generally.
Healey, KL; Kibble, S; Bell, A; Hodges, S; Swartzwelder, HS
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