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Alcohol. 2004 Apr;32(3):223-41.

Mouse striatal transcriptome analysis: effects of oral self-administration of alcohol.

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  • 1Laboratory of Neurobehavioral Genetics, Nathan S. Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, 140 Old Orangeburg Road, Orangeburg, NY 10962, USA.


Results of recent studies support the notion that substance self-administration is partially a genetically controlled component of addiction tied to habit formation and cellular modification of the striatum. Aiming to define pathways among genomic, neural, and behavioral determinants of addiction, we investigated global striatal gene expression in a paradigm of oral self-administration of alcohol by using genomically very similar alcohol-nonpreferring B6.Cb(5)i(7)-alpha 3/Vad (C5A3) and alcohol-preferring B6.Ib(5)i(7)-beta 25A/Vad (I5B25A) quasi-congenic mouse strains and their progenitors, C57BL/6By (B6By) and BALB/cJ. Expression of 12,488 genes and expressed sequence tags (ESTs) was studied by using 24 high-density oligonucleotide microarrays. Transcript signal intensity differences were analyzed with z test after iterative median normalization across groups and Hochberg step-down Bonferroni procedure. As expected, striatal transcriptome differences were far more extensive between the independently derived progenitor strains than between the quasi-congenic strains and their background partner, B6By. However, the genes, which were differentially expressed between the quasi-congenic strains and their background partner, were not subsets of the progenitorial differences and were not located on the chromosome segments introgressed into the quasi-congenic strains from the donor BALB/cJ strain that have been so far defined. Although 25 transcripts showed significantly different expression between the progenitor strains, only two transcripts, phosphatidylserine decarboxylase and a hypothetical 21.2-kDa protein, and one transcript, molybdenum co-factor synthesis 2, showed significantly different expression between C5A3 and I5B25A, and between B6By and I5B25A, respectively. The latter three transcripts are not located on previously identified chromosome segments introgressed from the donor BALB/cJ strain, supporting the suggestion of trans-acting regulatory variations among strains. Exposure to alcohol did not induce statistically significant striatal gene expression changes in any of the mouse strains. In conclusion, the results support the hypothesis that in functional genomic studies the chance of detecting function-relevant genes can be increased by the comparative analysis of quasi-congenic and background strains because the number of functionally irrelevant, differentially expressed genes between genomically similar strains is reduced. Lack of statistically significant alcohol-induced changes in transcript abundance indicated that oral self-administration had subtle effects on striatal gene expression and directed attention to important implications for the experimental design of future microarray gene expression studies on complex behaviors.

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