The consumption of the combination of ethanol and caffeine, especially in "energetic" drinks, is becoming very popular due the believe that the caffeine might antagonize alcohol intoxication. Studies show that the caffeine only diminishes the subjective perception of the intoxication, without really antagonize it. This change in the perception can lead to an increase of alcohol consumption. Besides the neurotoxic effects in the CNS, consumption of alcohol can inhibit hippocampal neurogenesis. Caffeine can have different effects on neurogenesis depending on the doses administered; moderate doses inhibit neurogenesis meanwhile extreme high doses can stimulate it. The combination of alcohol and caffeine can increase alcohol consumption, aggravating inhibition of hippocampal neurogenesis. The present study aims to analyze the effects the combination of alcohol and caffeine in hippocampal cell proliferation in UChB rats. This rare strain of rats is specially bred to consume voluntarily huge amounts of alcohol. Male UChB rats will be kept in the colony room with controlled environment (light/dark cycle of 12/12hs, temperature of 23±2oC). The UChB rats will be divided in Et-Caf (Ethanol+Caffeine) and Et-Con (Ethanol Control) groups, which will receive solution containing ethanol 10% plus caffeine (30mg/l) or just ethanol 10% solution, respectively, during 60 days. CB (Basal Control) group will receive only drinking water. After this period the rats will be submitted to two memory tests: open field habituation test and object recognition test. Tha animals will be perfused, the brains removed and processed with immunohistochemestry techniques against Ki-67. One series of slides will be stained with cresyl violet for volumetric analysis of the dentate gyrus.This study can have important clinical correlations since the cognitive and behavioral deficits usually seen in alcoholic patients can be related, at least in part, to the inhibition of hippocampal neurogenesis.
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