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Brain protein expression can be damaged with prolonged alcohol exposure

Researchers at the University at Buffalo probing into the effects of alcohol on the brain, and studying the zebra fish as a model, have zeroed in on many proteins in the central nervous system//, that are impacted negatively with severe alcohol exposure. The scientists were now confident about the proteins’ turn out after prolonged alcohol exposure, after they found fish displaying abnormal behavior. Results of the research appeared in the Aug. 15 online edition of the European Journal of Pharmacology.

Five proteins were found to be over expressed and three were found to be under expressed. These proteins are thought to be involved in critical mechanisms such as programmed cell death, cholesterol balance, amino acid metabolism, oxidative stress and signal transduction.

"Identification of proteins that show selective changes in abundance after alcohol exposure has the potential to unlock new pathways both for understanding the mechanisms of alcoholism and alcohol toxicity, as well as its amelioration," said Richard A. Rabin, Ph.D., professor in the UB Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology and senior author on the study.

Senthilkumar Damodaran, doctoral student in pharmacology, is first author.

The study involved 16 long-fin striped zebrafish, in two trials of eight each, which were placed as a group in a tank with ethyl alcohol for four weeks. Rabin said the researchers chose zebrafish because they are easy to breed and maintain, their DNA sequences are similar to that of humans and they are sensitive to alcohol concentrations.

The concentration of alcohol used is similar to alcohol levels observed in humans, Rabin noted, and is comparable to levels reported in several rodent studies.

"Exposing the fish to alcohol for four weeks has the virtue of being a simple system," he said. "The ethanol concentration and length of exposure can be controlled tightly and applied identically to all
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