About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Alzheimer's Drug Repairs Neuron Damage In Rats Exposed to Alcohol

by Ramya Rachamanti on August 20, 2019 at 5:35 PM
Font : A-A+

Alzheimer's Drug Repairs Neuron Damage In Rats Exposed to Alcohol

Donepezil, the drug used to slow down cognitive decline in Alzheimer's patients, reverses inflammation and neuron damage in the brain of rats exposed to alcohol during adolescence.

In a study described in the journal Scientific Reports, Duke Health researchers sought to understand how intermittent binge drinking changes the hippocampus -- a region long known to be critical for learning and memory, and also linked to anxiety -- and whether the drug, donepezil, could reverse those changes. Rats were used as a model for teens and young adults who binge drink a few times a week.

Advertisement


"Research has begun to show that human adolescents who drink early and consistently across the adolescent years have some deficits in brain function that can affect learning and memory, as well as anxiety and social behaviors," said senior author Scott Swartzwelder, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry at Duke.

"The changes can be subtle, but who wants even subtle deficits in their brain function or how they think and feel?" Swartzwelder said. "Studies in animal models show that adolescent alcohol exposure can change the ways nerve cells communicate with each other, and the level of plasticity in brain circuits -- compromising the ability of the brain to change and adapt. These changes can be seen in adulthood - long after the alcohol exposure has ended"
Advertisement

Because they can't ethically have young people drink alcohol to study its effects, researchers use the developing brains of rats to understand the effects of "intermittent alcohol exposure," resulting in blood-alcohol levels that are consistent with those achieved by human adolescent drinkers.

The scientists observed that in addition to brain inflammation, adolescent alcohol exposure inhibited the birth of new neurons in the hippocampus, Swartzwelder said, and may even accelerate neuronal death -- making it is easier to lose existing cells and more difficult to produce new ones.

Once the rats reached adulthood, they were given donepezil, a cognition-enhancing drug that is marketed under the brand name Aricept. After four days of treatment, the researchers studied the animals' brains, looking closely at the hippocampus. The rats that received donepezil in adulthood after adolescent alcohol exposure showed less inflammation and better ability to produce new neurons compared to rats that did not receive the donepezil treatment. "We don't know if the reversal of these alcohol effects by donepezil is permanent, but it at least transiently reverses them," Swartzwelder said.

Swartzwelder said the study helps clarify the subtle health risk of heavy drinking among young adults, which has been difficult to ascertain.

"It's obvious that not everyone who drinks during adolescence grows up and completely fails at life," Swartzwelder said. "You might not notice the deficits in obvious ways every day, but you run the risk of losing your edge. Sometimes a small impairment of brain function can have a broad ripple effect in someone's life."

Importantly, the research demonstrates the potential to repair some types of damage caused by adolescent alcohol exposure, he said. But beyond that, it could also lead to a more specific understanding of the cellular mechanisms that make the developing brain particularly vulnerable to substances such as alcohol.

Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Health Benefits of Sea Buckthorn
Contraceptive Pills in Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Curtail Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Mushroom May Help Cut Down the Odds of Developing Depression
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Alcoholic Liver Disease Drug Toxicity Parkinsons Disease Parkinsons Disease Surgical Treatment Alcoholism Cannabis Drug Abuse Alcohol and Driving Bubbles and Brews - Alcohol Facts Signature Drug Toxicity 

Recommended Reading
Diseases Related to Old Age
Ageing is referred to the accumulation of changes that brings a person closer to death....
Alcohol and Driving
Alcohol and driving do not mix. Drunken driving is the cause of many deaths in the world....
Alcoholic Liver Disease
Encyclopedia section of medindia gives general information about Alcoholic Liver Disease....
Alcoholism
Alcohol use disorder or alcoholism is an inability to control drinking. It can cause short term and ...
Bubbles and Brews - Alcohol Facts
There is more to alcohol than mere intoxication. Infamous because of its social abuse but indispensa...
Cannabis
Cannabis has a long history of medicinal, recreational, and industrial use and comes from a bushy pl...
Drug Abuse
The use of Drugs for reasons other than its prescribed recommendation, is known as Drug abuse or sub...
Drug Toxicity
Drug toxicity is an adverse reaction of the body towards a drug that results as a side effect of a d...
Parkinsons Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease caused by progressive dopamine brain cells loss. ...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use