• Effects of Ethanol Exposure and Withdrawal on Neuronal Morphology in the Agranular Insular and Prelimbic Cortices: Relationship with Withdrawal-Related Structural Plasticity in the Nucleus Accumbens

      Frost, Madeline E; Peterson, Veronica L; Bird, Clark W; McCool, Brian; Hamilton, Derek A; National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; R01 AA019462 (DAH); R01 AA014445 (BAM); P50 AA026117 (BAM); R21 AA026572 (BAM) (MDPI, 2019-07-27)
      The present study investigated the effects of chronic intermittent ethanol exposure and withdrawal on dendritic morphology and spine density in the agranular insular and prelimbic cortices. Adult male Sprague–Dawley rats were passively exposed to vaporized ethanol (~37 mg/L; 12 h/day) or air (control) for ten consecutive days. Dendritic length, branching, and spine density were quantified in layer II/III pyramidal neurons 24 hours or seven days following the final ethanol exposure. Compared to unexposed control animals there were structural alterations on neurons in the prelimbic cortex, and to a lesser extent the agranular insular cortex. The most prominent ethanol-related differences were the transient increases in dendritic length and branching in prelimbic neurons at 24 h post-cessation, and increased mushroom-shaped spines at seven days post-cessation. The results obtained in the prelimbic cortex are the opposite of those previously reported in the nucleus accumbens core (Peterson, et al. 2015), suggesting that these regions undergo distinct functional adaptations following ethanol exposure and withdrawal.