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Alcohol. 1992 May-Jun;9(3):171-80.

Alcohol reduces the number of pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells in culture.

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Department of Anatomy, College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242.


Pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells were used as an in vitro neuronal cell model to examine detrimental effects of alcohol on cell numbers. Alcohol exposure (100, 200, 400, and 800 mg/dl) reduced PC12 cell numbers in a dose-dependent manner. Cells that were treated with nerve growth factor (NGF) incurred less severe reductions in numbers compared with cells that were never treated with NGF. Because NGF stops proliferation of many of the PC12 cells and differentiates them into neuronal-like cells, these data suggest that differentiated, nonproliferating cells are less vulnerable to alcohol-induced reductions in cell numbers. In a subsequent experiment using only undifferentiated PC12 cells, alcohol reduced cell number of both proliferating and nonproliferating cultures; however, the reductions in proliferating cultures were more severe than in nonproliferating cultures. Two mechanisms may account for alcohol-induced reductions of PC12 cell numbers--inhibition of proliferation and killing of cells. PC12 cell cultures are a useful model system to examine mechanism(s) underlying alcohol's depletion of neuronal-like cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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