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Neurobiol Dis. 2002 Mar;9(2):205-19.

Ethanol-induced caspase-3 activation in the in vivo developing mouse brain.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, 660 South Euclid Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


Recently several methods have been described for triggering extensive apoptotic neurodegeneration in the developing in vivo mammalian brain. These methods include treatment with drugs that block NMDA glutamate receptors, drugs that promote GABA(A) neurotransmission, or treatment with ethanol, which has both NMDA antagonist and GABAmimetic properties. A single intoxication episode induced by any of these agents is sufficient to cause widespread neurodegeneration throughout many brain regions. The cell death process transpires rapidly from early to late stages within several hours. As the neurons die, they become TUNEL positive and show, by both light and electron microscopy, all of the classical morphological characteristics of apoptosis. In the present study, using immunocytochemical methods, we document that ethanol intoxication of 7-day-old infant mice causes a widespread pattern of caspase-3 activation corresponding to the pattern of apoptotic neurodegeneration that is occurring simultaneously.

(c)2002 Elsevier Science (USA).

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