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Brain Res. 1996 Aug 26;731(1-2):39-44.

Proliferation of astroglia from the adult human cerebrum is inhibited by ethanol in vitro.

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Department of Anatomy, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock 72205, USA.


Chronic alcoholism is associated with atrophy of the adult brain, while fetal exposure to ethanol can cause microencephaly. Since astroglial pathology is a common feature of ethanol exposure in both humans and animal models, the direct influence of ethanol on proliferation of human astroglia from the gray and white matter of adult temporal lobe was determined and compared. Astroglial cultures were exposed to constant concentrations of ethanol at realistic social and clinical levels (0.1, 0.2 or 0.5%; w/v) for 1 to 5 days. Proliferation was quantified by bromodeoxyuridine labeling and enumeration of replicating cells. Ethanol exposure significantly inhibited proliferation of both gray and white matter astroglia in a dose and duration dependent manner. Gray matter was slightly more sensitive than white matter to inhibition by low to moderate concentrations of ethanol; in contrast, white matter was more sensitive to high ethanol concentrations. Maximum inhibition was 20% in gray matter and 25% in white matter. Human astroglial proliferation was directly inhibited in the absence of neurons, microglia, neuronal degeneration or systemic factors that have confounded in vivo studies. Restricted astroglial proliferation may underlie aspects of the astroglial pathology associated with ethanol exposure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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