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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Effects of Lifelong Ethanol Consumption on Brain Monoamine Transmitters in Alcohol-Preferring Alko Alcohol (AA) Rats

The purpose of the present study was to examine the combined effects of aging and lifelong ethanol exposure on the levels of monoamine neurotransmitters in different regions of the brain. This work is part of a project addressing interactions of aging and lifelong ethanol consumption in alcohol-preferring AA (Alko Alcohol) line of rats, selected for high voluntary consumption of ethanol.
Intake of ethanol on the level of 4.5–5 g/kg/day for about 20 months induced only limited changes in the neurotransmitter levels; the concentration of noradrenaline was significantly reduced in the frontal cortex. There was also a trend towards lower levels of dopamine and 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) in the frontal cortex, and towards a lower noradrenaline level in the dorsal cortex.

Aging was associated with a decreased concentration of dopamine in the dorsal cortex and with a declining trend in the striatum. The levels of 5-HT in the limbic forebrain were higher in the aged than in the young animals, and in the striatum, there was a trend towards higher levels in older animals.
The data suggest that a continuous intake of moderate amounts of ethanol does not enhance the age-related alterations in brain monoamine neurotransmission, while the decline in the brain level of dopamine associated with aging may be a factor contributing to age-related neurological disorders.
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