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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Effects of early postnatal alcohol exposure on the developing retinogeniculate projections in C57BL/6 mice

Previous studies on the adverse effects of perinatal exposure to ethanol (EtOH) on the developing visual system mainly focused on retinal and optic nerve morphology.

The aim of the present study was to investigate whether earlier reported retinal and optic nerve changes are accompanied by anomalies in eye-specific fiber segregation in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (dLGN). 

C57BL/6 mice pups were exposed to ethanol by intragastric intubation at either 3 or 4 g/kg from postnatal days (PD) 3–10, the third trimester equivalent to human gestation. Control (C) and intubation control (IC) groups not exposed to ethanol were included. On PD9, retinogeniculate projections were labeled by intraocular microinjections of cholera toxin-β (CTB) either conjugated to Alexa 488 (green) or 594 (red) administrated to the left and right eye, respectively. Pups were sacrificed 24 h after the last CTB injection. 

The results showed that ethanol exposure decreased the total number of dLGN neurons and significantly reduced the total dLGN projection as well as the contralateral and ipsilateral projection areas.

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