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Hippocampus. 1992 Jan;2(1):65-71.

Effects of chronic alcohol consumption and withdrawal on the somatostatin-immunoreactive neurons of the rat hippocampal dentate hilus.

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Department of Anatomy, Porto Medical School, Portugal.


Previous studies have demonstrated that the dentate granule and the CA3 pyramidal cells of the rat hippocampal formation are neuronal populations vulnerable to the toxic effects of ethanol. It also has been shown that the resulting alterations do not end after withdrawal from ethanol. As the neurons in the dentate hilus are heavily interconnected with the dentate granule cells, the authors decided to examine the fate of the hilar neurons after chronic alcohol consumption and withdrawal, inasmuch as the hilar somatostatin-immunoreactive (SS-I) neurons were found to be sensitive to cerebral ischemia and to seizures. The following groups of adult rats were studied: (1) alcohol-fed for 6 and 12 months; (2) alcohol-fed for 6 months and then switched to water for a further 6 months; (3) pair-fed controls; and (4) controls fed ad libitum. The authors determined the numerical density of hilar neurons and the number of its SS-I subpopulation. These were found to be significantly reduced in both the alcohol-fed and withdrawal groups when compared with the respective age-matched controls. The consequent loss of the integrative action of the hilar neurons, including the SS-Is, could explain some of the alcohol-related functional deficits as well as their persistence after withdrawal.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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