Previous studies have implicated the N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) complex in the physical dependence and withdrawal effects of chronic ethanol administration. In this study, we examined the effect of chronic ethanol administration and ethanol withdrawal on the NMDAR subunit R1, R2A, R2B, and R2C mRNA levels in rat hippocampus, cerebral cortex, and cerebellum. Using the RNase protection assay, we compared the levels of the NMDAR subunits mRNAs in ethanol-treated and control rats. Our results indicate that chronic ethanol administration and ethanol withdrawal do not change the NMDAR R1 subunit mRNA levels in cerebral cortex, hippocampus, or cerebellum at any time point. In contrast, 9 h after the last ethanol administration the R2A and R2B mRNA subunits were elevated by ≈ 40% in cerebral cortex, and ≈ 30% in hippocampus with respect to the levels in control animals. At 48 h the mRNA levels returned to the control levels. The chronic ethanol treatment did not alter R1, R2A, and R2C subunit mRNA levels in cerebellum. Our results demonstrate that chronic ethanol administration produces a differential regulation of the genes encoding the various subunits of the NMDAR.
- Chronic ethanol treatment
- NMDA receptor subunit mRNA level
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience