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Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 2000 May 11;121(1):97-107.

Ethanol-induced alterations in the expression of neurotrophic factors in the developing rat central nervous system.

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University of Florida Brain Institute, Department of Neuroscience, Center for Alcohol Research, University of Florida College of Medicine, Box 100244, Gainesville, FL 32610-0244, USA. heaton@ufbi.ufl.ed


Neonatal rats were exposed to ethanol throughout gestation, or during the early postnatal period (postnatal days 4-10 (P4-10)), and enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assays were subsequently conducted in order to assess nerve growth factor (NGF), brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) protein content in hippocampus, septum, cortex/striatum and cerebellum. These determinations revealed that following prenatal ethanol treatment, there were significant ethanol-induced increases in NGF in P1 cortex/striatum, but no changes in any of the three neurotrophic factors (NTFs) in the other brain regions. Cortex/striatal NGF protein returned to control levels by P10. Following early postnatal exposure, BDNF was elevated in hippocampus and cortex/striatum (assessed on P10), and NGF was also enhanced in cortex/striatum at this age. Hippocampal and cortex/striatal BDNF returned to control levels by P21, but cortex/striatal NGF levels remained enhanced at this age. This NTF did not differ in ethanol and control animals by P60, however. The possible significance of elevated levels of NTFs as a function of ethanol exposure is discussed, and it is speculated that while such alterations could play a protective role, increases in these substances during critical developmental periods could also prove to be deleterious, and could even contribute to certain of the neuropathologies which have been observed following developmental ethanol exposure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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