Neurogenesis in the subgranular layer of the dentate gyrus (DG) has been suggested to underlie some forms of associative learning.
The present study was undertaken to determine whether there was also a role of neurogenesis in the ethanol (EtOH)-induced conditioned place preference (CPP).
Outbreed Swiss mice were conditioned with EtOH (2.0 g/kg) in one compartment of a non-biased place preference chamber and saline in the other compartment. This procedure produced three groups of mice: some developed a conditioned preference (EtOH_Cpp), others developed a conditioned avoidance (EtOH_Cpa) and still others demonstrated indifference to the context previously paired with ethanol (EtOH_Ind). BrdU (40 mg/kg, i.p.) was administered 4 hours after each session comprising the conditioning phase.
When measured 24 hours following the CPP test, there was no effect of EtOH on doublecortin (DCX) expression or Fluoro Jade B staining.
However, there were decreases in the number of BrdU+ and Ki-67+ cells in the EtOH_Cpa and EtOH_Ind groups, but not in the EtOH_Cpp group. Most of BrdU+ cells were co-labeled with DCX.
Similarly, in another experiment, in that the perfusion was done 28 days after CPP test, most BrdU+ cells were co-localized with NeuN.
These results suggest that conditioned appetitive response is able to maintain normal levels of neurogenesis in DG and might counteract ethanol-produced decreased cell proliferation/survival rate.
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