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Neurodegeneration induced by chronic alcohol use in cortex pre-frontal: a stereological analysis

Grant number: 15/26903-2
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2016
Effective date (End): December 31, 2016
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Pharmacology - Neuropsychopharmacology
Principal researcher:Isabel Cristina Céspedes
Grantee:Rafael Conte
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 of these regions is the prefrontal cortex (PFC), region responsible for higher mental functions such as decision making, planning and inhibiting of impulses. On the other hand, the alcohol has the ability to cause neuronal death in several brain regions, including (and particularly) the PFC, through various mechanisms. To ascertain precisely this neurodegeneration, we will make a stereological study on the medial portion of the CPF and will correlate these data with the results of a behavioral test of decision making. We will use twenty-four Wistar rats which will be divided in the 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 will consume alcohol the same way as the AL8 group and will go through a decision-making test based on effort, the Elevated T Maze, at the beginning and at the 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, the average volume of the neurons, total volume of the region, total volume of neurons and the volumetric density of neurons. These data will show the progressive effect of neuronal death by a precise estimate and will be compared with the behavioral test data to correlate with neuronal death deficits in cognition (decision-making process). (AU)

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