DOI: 10.3390/stresses4010001 ISSN: 2673-7140

Binge-like Alcohol Administration Alters Decision Making in an Adolescent Rat Model: Role of N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor Signaling

Camila Arce, Rodrigo G. Mira, Matías Lira, Waldo Cerpa
  • General Medicine

Alcohol is one of the most used legal drugs abused worldwide, and its consumption is associated with high mortality and morbidity rates. There is an increasing concern about the starting age of consumption of this drug since it has become evident that it is at younger ages. The so-called “pattern of consumption by binge” corresponds to ingesting large amounts of alcohol in a short period and is the most popular among young people. Previous studies show that alcohol causes damage in different areas, such as the hippocampus, hypothalamus, and prefrontal cortex, and adolescents are more susceptible to alcohol toxicity. Alcohol inhibits the membrane glutamate receptor, NMDA-type glutamate receptors (NMDAR). Using a binge-like alcohol administration protocol in adolescent rats (PND25), we investigate decision making through the attentional set-shifting test (ASST) and alterations in the NMDAR signaling in related areas. We observe an impairment in executive function without alterations in NMDAR abundance. However, binge alcohol changes NMDAR signaling and decreases quantity in the synapse, mainly in the hippocampus and hypothalamus. We suggest that prefrontal cortex impairment could arise from damaged connections with the hippocampus and hypothalamus, affecting the survival pathway and memory and learning process.

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