[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Identifying and characterizing brain regions regulating alcohol consumption is beneficial for understanding the mechanisms of alcoholism. To this aim, we first identified brain regions changing in expression of the inducible transcription factor c-Fos in the alcohol-preferring C57BL/6J (B6) and alcohol-avoiding DBA/2J (D2) mice after ethanol consumption. Drinking a 5% ethanol/10% sucrose solution in a 30 min limited access procedure led to induction of c-Fos immunoreactivity in urocortin (Ucn)-positive cells of the Edinger-Westphal nucleus (EW), suppression of c-Fos immunoreactivity in the dorsal portion of the lateral septum (LS) of both strains of mice, and strain-specific suppression in the intermediate portion of the LS and the CA3 hippocampal region. Because the EW sends Ucn projections to the LS, and B6 and D2 mice differ dramatically in EW Ucn expression, we further analyzed the Ucn EW-LS pathway using several genetic approaches. We find that D2 mice have higher numbers of Ucn-immunoreactive processes than B6 mice in the LS and that consumption of ethanol/sucrose in the F2 offspring of a B6D2 intercross positively correlates with Ucn immunoreactivity in the EW and negatively correlates with Ucn immunoreactivity in the LS. In agreement with these findings, we find that alcohol-avoiding male B6.D2 Alcp1 line 2.2 congenic mice have lower Ucn immunoreactivity in the EW than male B6.B6 mice. Finally, we also find that HAP mice, selectively bred for high alcohol preference, have higher Ucn immunoreactivity in EW, than LAP mice, selectively bred for low alcohol preference. Taken together, these studies provide substantial evidence for involvement of the EW-LS Ucn pathway in alcohol consumption.
Journal of Neuroscience 04/2003; 23(6):2477-87. · 6.75 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Identification of the neuroanatomical substrates regulating alcohol consumption is important for the understanding of alcoholism. Previous studies mapping changes in brain activity used rodent models of alcohol drinking with relatively low alcohol intakes.
This study was aimed to identify brain regions changing activity after high voluntary intake of alcohol-containing solutions.
Adult male C57BL/6J mice were trained to drink a 10% ethanol/10% sucrose solution in daily 30-min limited-access sessions during the dark phase of the circadian cycle. Control groups of animals consumed 10% sucrose or water. Analysis of c-Fos immunohistochemistry (as a marker for neuronal activity) was performed at 90 min after the last alcohol drinking session.
The limited access procedure led to high intakes (2.9+/-0.3 g/kg) and blood alcohol concentrations of 251+/-46 mg%. Expression of c-Fos was significantly higher in the alcohol/sucrose group than both the water and sucrose groups in the Edinger-Westphal nucleus, and significantly lower in the alcohol/sucrose group than two control groups in hippocampal subregions, posterior hypothalamus and dorsal lateral septum. Double immunohistochemistry showed that alcohol-induced c-Fos-positive cells in the Edinger-Westphal nucleus co-localized with the neuropeptide urocortin. In addition, intake and/or blood alcohol concentrations correlated with c-Fos expression in specific subregions of the hippocampus, hypothalamus, prefrontal cortex, lateral septum and midbrain.
The dark phase voluntary limited-access procedure in mice leads to intakes of alcohol-containing solutions that are considered highly intoxicating. Brain regions showing alcohol-specific changes in c-Fos expression after this procedure can be connected into a novel neurocircuit, including lateral septum, hippocampus, hypothalamus, and the Edinger-Westphal nucleus.