Effects of Neonatal Alcohol Exposure on Hippocampal Neuronal Activation in Response to Physical Exercise

Morales, Alejandro
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University of Delaware
Neurogenesis has been shown to be negatively affected by postnatal alcohol exposure in a rat animal model of fetal alcohol spectral disorders. Therapeutic interventions such as wheel running have been shown to rescue cellular proliferation in the dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampus. However, wheel running is not enough to rescue cellular survival. We hypothesize that survival of newly born cells is impaired because the cells are not being properly integrated into the hippocampal circuit. Rat pups were assigned to one of three treatment groups: suckle control, sham intubated, or alcohol exposed (AE). Animals were then placed in either wheel running or social housed conditions. Neuronal marker FosB/ΔFosB was used to label cells activated in DG and CA1 subfields of the hippocampus in response to wheel running. Although we expected AE to decrease FosB/ΔFosB expression, no effect of postnatal alcohol exposure on FosB/ΔFosB + cell number was found. However, twelve days of wheel running was found to induce FosB/ΔFosB expression in CA1 of all animals, while no effect was found in DG. Overall, these results suggest that AE has no long-term effect on FosB/ΔFosB expression within the hippocampus and wheel running’s differential activation could be due to the distinct physiological and functional role of the hippocampal subfields.
neonatal alcohol exposure , hippocampal neuronal activation , physical exercise