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Genes Brain Behav. 2002 Jan;1(1):35-45.

Expression profiling identifies strain-specific changes associated with ethanol withdrawal in mice.

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  • 1Department of Behavioral Neuroscience, Portland Alcohol Research Center Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Portland, Oregon 97201, USA. danielsg@ohsu.edu


Mice that exhibit characteristics of physical dependence following ethanol exposure serve as useful models of alcoholism in humans. The DBA/2J and C57BL/6J inbred strains differ in their behavioral response to ethanol withdrawal. Alterations in gene expression are believed to underlie neuroadaptation to ethanol dependence and tolerance. Therefore, the differences in ethanol withdrawal severity observed between the DBA/2J and C57BL/6J strains may be related to differential regulation of gene expression. We have used cDNA microarrays to determine the gene expression profile in the hippocampus of DBA/2J and C57BL/6J mice during withdrawal after chronic and acute ethanol exposure. Of the 7634 genes surveyed, approximately 2% were consistently differentially expressed by at least 1.4-fold in DBA/2J mice during chronic ethanol withdrawal. Less than 1% of the genes showed altered expression in C57BL/6J mice under the same conditions, or in DBA/2J mice during acute ethanol withdrawal. Strain- and treatment-specific patterns of altered expression were observed for multiple genes associated with the Janus kinase/signal transducers and activators of transcription and the mitogen activated protein kinase pathways. Genes associated with both pathways are regulated in DBA/2J mice during chronic ethanol withdrawal, and to a lesser extent during acute ethanol withdrawal. Only those genes associated with the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway exhibited changes in expression in C57BL/6J mice during ethanol withdrawal. Furthermore, genes associated with retinoic acid-mediated signaling show differential expression exclusively in C57BL/6J mice. These findings represent significant differences in cellular adaptation to ethanol between the DBA/2J and C57BL/6J strains.

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