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PLoS One. 2013 Nov 29;8(11):e82435. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082435. eCollection 2013.

Fyn-dependent gene networks in acute ethanol sensitivity.

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Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia, United States of America.


Studies in humans and animal models document that acute behavioral responses to ethanol are predisposing factor for the risk of long-term drinking behavior. Prior microarray data from our laboratory document strain- and brain region-specific variation in gene expression profile responses to acute ethanol that may be underlying regulators of ethanol behavioral phenotypes. The non-receptor tyrosine kinase Fyn has previously been mechanistically implicated in the sedative-hypnotic response to acute ethanol. To further understand how Fyn may modulate ethanol behaviors, we used whole-genome expression profiling. We characterized basal and acute ethanol-evoked (3 g/kg) gene expression patterns in nucleus accumbens (NAC), prefrontal cortex (PFC), and ventral midbrain (VMB) of control and Fyn knockout mice. Bioinformatics analysis identified a set of Fyn-related gene networks differently regulated by acute ethanol across the three brain regions. In particular, our analysis suggested a coordinate basal decrease in myelin-associated gene expression within NAC and PFC as an underlying factor in sensitivity of Fyn null animals to ethanol sedation. An in silico analysis across the BXD recombinant inbred (RI) strains of mice identified a significant correlation between Fyn expression and a previously published ethanol loss-of-righting-reflex (LORR) phenotype. By combining PFC gene expression correlates to Fyn and LORR across multiple genomic datasets, we identified robust Fyn-centric gene networks related to LORR. Our results thus suggest that multiple system-wide changes exist within specific brain regions of Fyn knockout mice, and that distinct Fyn-dependent expression networks within PFC may be important determinates of the LORR due to acute ethanol. These results add to the interpretation of acute ethanol behavioral sensitivity in Fyn kinase null animals, and identify Fyn-centric gene networks influencing variance in ethanol LORR. Such networks may also inform future design of pharmacotherapies for the treatment and prevention of alcohol use disorders.

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