Chronic ethanol consumption transiently reduces adult neural progenitor cell proliferation

Ann C. Rice, M. Ross Bullock, Keith L. Shelton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Adult neural stem/progenitor cells proliferate throughout the life of the animal in the subependymal zone and the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus (DG). Treatments such as enriched environment, dietary restriction, running and anti-depressants increase proliferation, however, stress and opiates have been shown to decrease proliferation. While models of binge ethanol drinking decreases proliferation, few studies have characterized the effect chronic ethanol usage has on progenitor cell proliferation. In this study, we have examined changes in the progenitor cell proliferation rate following chronic ethanol consumption. Animals were given a nutritionally balanced liquid diet containing 6.5% v/v ethanol or an isocalorically balanced liquid diet. Bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) was administered (150 mg/kg×3) and the animals sacrificed 2 h after the last injection on days 3, 10 or 30 of the ethanol diet. Coronal brain blocks were paraffin embedded and 6 μm sections sliced and immunohistochemically stained for BrdU. Quantitation of the number of BrdU-labeled cells in the subgranular zone of the DG revealed a significant decrease only at the 3-day time-point, with recovery by the 10- and 30-day time-points. Thus, the progenitor cell proliferation rate is transiently decreased by chronic ethanol usage. This data suggests that chronic alcohol use results in a compensatory response that restores the progenitor cell proliferation rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-98
Number of pages5
JournalBrain research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 11 2004


  • Alcohol
  • BrdU
  • Drugs of abuse: alcohol, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Neural basis of behavior
  • Rat
  • Stem cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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