The Influence of Sex on Hippocampal Neurogenesis and Neurotrophic Responses on the Persistent Effects of Adolescent Intermittent Ethanol Exposure into Adulthood.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

In the United States, approximately 90% of alcohol consumed by adolescents is binge drinking. Binge-like ethanol exposure during adolescence promotes dysregulation of neurotrophic responses and neurogenesis in the hippocampus. These effects include changes in proliferation, regulation, differentiation, and maturation of neurons, and there is indication that such effects may be disproportionate between sexes. This study determined whether sex impacts neurotrophic responses and neurogenesis in adulthood after adolescent intermittent ethanol (AIE) exposure. To determine this, adolescent rats underwent AIE with ethanol (5 g/kg). In adulthood, animals were euthanized, and immunohistochemical techniques and ELISAs were utilized to determine AIE effects on sex-specific neurogenesis factors and neurotrophic markers, respectively. AIE exposure led to a significant decrease in neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampal formation indicated by reductions in the numbers of DCX+, SOX2+ and Ki-67+ cells in male and female AIE-exposed rats. Additionally, AIE increased markers for the pro-inflammatory cytokines, TNF-α and IL-1β, in the hippocampus into adulthood in male AIE-exposed rats only. No significant AIE-induced differences were observed in the anti-inflammatory cytokines, IL-10 and TGF-β, nor in the neurotrophic factors BDNF and GDNF. Altogether, our findings indicate that although AIE did not have a persistent effect on hippocampal neurotrophic levels, there was still a reduction in neurogenesis. The neurogenic impairment was not sex specific, but the neurogenic deficits in males may be attributed to an increase in pro-inflammatory cytokine expression. A persistent impairment in neurogenesis may have an impact on both behavioral maladaptations and neurodegeneration in adulthood.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Nwachukwu, KN; Healey, KL; Swartzwelder, HS; Marshall, SA

Published Date

  • December 1, 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 506 /

Start / End Page

  • 68 - 79

PubMed ID

  • 36343720

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC9764262

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-7544

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2022.10.028


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States