, Volume 146, Issue 6, pp 816-819
Date: 30 Apr 2009

Structural Changes in Mesocorticolimbic Dopaminergic System of the Brain during Long-Term Alcoholization in Rats

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We studied morphofunctional changes in structures of the mesocorticolimbic system of rat brain upon long-term (5 months) ethanol intoxication. Alcoholization reduced the volume and specific density of neurons in the substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area. The density of neurogliocytes in the substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area increased. Neuronal density in the nucleus accumbens and anterior cingulate cortex significantly decreased, the volume of viable neurons slightly increased. One month after alcohol cessation, the volume of neurons in the substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area remained elevated against the background of their reduced density. The density of neuroglia in the nucleus accumbens and anterior cingulate cortex remained at the level observed during alcoholization. Significant decrease in the density and decrease in the volume of neurons in structures of the mesocorticolimbic system accompanied by the increase in neuroglyocyte density in these structures can be considered as morphological signs of long-term alcoholic intoxication, which persist after alcohol cessation.

Translated from Byulleten’ Eksperimental’noi Biologii i Meditsiny, Vol. 146, No. 12, pp. 698-700, December, 2008