Reduced serotonergic immunoreactive fibers in the forebrain of alcohol- preferring rats

Journal Article

Our previous study indicated that 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) immunoreactive fiber densities were decreased in specific areas of the brain in alcohol-preferring rats (P) when compared with alcohol-nonpreferring rats (NP). The results of our current study show that there are quantitative and qualitative differences in 5-HT innervation in other selected regions of the forebrains of P rats. The 5-HT fiber density in the brains of young adult P and NP rats was measured by immunocytochemistry and quantitative image analysis. A routine error of two-dimensional quantitation of nerve fiber was addressed and an adjustment was made. The amount of 5-HT fibers was significantly lower in CA4 and fasciola cinereum of the dorsal hippocampus, caudate-putamen, and hypothalamus of the P as compared with NP rats (unpaired Student's t tests). In examining the fiber types, we found that, in the frontal cortical and hippocampal regions, where normally fine 5-HT fibers with small varicosities and thick 5-HT fibers with large varicosities coexist, fewer fine 5-HT fibers were seen in P rats as compared with NP rats. The fine fibers are known to be vulnerable to abusive drugs. These observations indicate that (a) there are quantitative differences in 5-HT innervation or that the 5-HT in some 5-HT fibers is reduced to a level undetectable by immunocytochemistry, and (b) the fine 5-HT fibers are specifically reduced to a greater degree in the selected brain regions of P rats when compared with that of NP rats. The involvement of the 5-HT system in the alcohol abuse is discussed.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Zhou, FC; Bledsoe, S; Lumeng, L; Li, TK

Published Date

  • 1994

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 18 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 571 - 579

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0145-6008

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1530-0277.1994.tb00912.x