The prefrontal cortex plays an executive role in the expression and control of emotion and goal-directed behaviors;yet, it is one of the last brain regions to mature. Of great concern is how "risky, impulsive behaviors" such as binge alcohol drinking in male and female teenagers may impacts maturational processes (e.g., myelinization) within the prefrontal cortex to have long-lasting consequences on psychiatric health. This proposal uses an innovative and clinically relevant model to elicit (and control) frequent bouts of voluntary binge drinking in male and female rats to investigate the causal effects, underlying mechanisms, and reversibility of adolescent binge drinking myelinated axons in prefrontal cortex.
The proposed research is relevant to public health. Alcohol is the most commonly used substance of abuse during adolescence and male and female teenagers engage primarily in risky, heavy episodic drinking (binge drinking). The proposed studies use a multidisciplinary approach to fill a significant gap in knowledge regarding the long-term effects (and reversibility) of binge drinking on the on the developing prefrontal cortex in male and female rats.
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|Vargas, Wanette M; Bengston, Lynn; Gilpin, Nicholas W et al. (2014) Alcohol binge drinking during adolescence or dependence during adulthood reduces prefrontal myelin in male rats. J Neurosci 34:14777-82|
|Karanikas, C A; Lu, Y-L; Richardson, H N (2013) Adolescent drinking targets corticotropin-releasing factor peptide-labeled cells in the central amygdala of male and female rats. Neuroscience 249:98-105|