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Neurodegeneration induced chronic alcohol use in the hypothalamus paraventricular nucleus: a stereological analysis

Grant number: 15/25314-3
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2016
Effective date (End): February 28, 2017
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Morphology - Anatomy
Principal researcher:Isabel Cristina Céspedes
Grantee:Lana Fortes Silva
Home Institution: Instituto de Saúde e Sociedade (ISS). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus Baixada Santista. Santos , SP, Brazil


Alcohol dependence, as well as other drugs, is a worldwide problem. As a result of, the abuse of alcohol causes serious health and social problems, accounting for about 2.25 million deaths annually. Chronic use of this substance can cause neuroplastic changes in brain regions associated with pleasure, decision-making and stress response. One such region is the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVH), the region responsible for the homeostatic control and production of hormones triggers the stress response. On the other hand, the alcohol has the ability to cause neuronal death in several brain regions, including PVH, through various mechanisms. To ascertain precisely this neurodegeneration, we will make a stereological study at the PVH and will correlate these data with the results of a behavioral test of decision making. We will use twenty-four Wistar rats were divided into groups: control (C), alcohol 4 weeks (AL4) that will be submitted to an intake protocol of alcohol by the paradigm of the two bottles for four weeks, Alcohol 8 weeks (AL8), with same protocol of the previous group, but for eight weeks and Decision Making Group (TD) who consume alcohol the same way as the AL8 group and go through a decision-making test based on effort, the elevated T-maze, the beginning and end of the intake protocol. All animals will be euthanized and their brains will be collected, processed histologically and subjected to Dissector Optical stereological method, to estimate the total number of neurons, average volume of neurons, total volume in the region, total volume of neurons and volumetric density of neurons. These data show the progressive effect of neuronal death by a precise estimate and not biased and will be compared with the data for testing of the behavioral correlate with neuronal death deficits in cognition (decision-making process). (AU)

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