Journal Article

Adolescent Alcohol Exposure-Induced Changes in Alpha-Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone and Neuropeptide Y Pathways via Histone Acetylation in the Brain During Adulthood

Dadasaheb M Kokare, Evan J Kyzar, Huaibo Zhang, Amul J Sakharkar and Subhash C Pandey

in International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology

Published on behalf of International College of Neuropsychopharmacology

Volume 20, issue 9, pages 758-768
ISSN: 1461-1457
Published online May 2017 | e-ISSN: 1469-5111 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ijnp/pyx041
Adolescent Alcohol Exposure-Induced Changes in Alpha-Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone and Neuropeptide Y Pathways via Histone Acetylation in the Brain During Adulthood

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  • Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry
  • Neuroscience

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Abstract

Background

Adolescent intermittent ethanol exposure causes long-lasting alterations in brain epigenetic mechanisms. Melanocortin and neuropeptide Y signaling interact and are affected by ethanol exposure in the brain. Here, the persistent effects of adolescent intermittent ethanol on alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone, melanocortin 4 receptor, and neuropeptide Y expression and their regulation by histone acetylation mechanisms were investigated in adulthood.

Methods

Male rats were exposed to adolescent intermittent ethanol (2 g/kg, i.p.) or volume-matched adolescent intermittent saline from postnatal days 28 to 41 and allowed to grow to postnatal day 92. Anxiety-like behaviors were measured by the elevated plus-maze test. Brain regions from adult rats were used to examine changes in alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone, melanocortin 4 receptor, and neuropeptide Y expression and the histone acetylation status of their promoters.

Results

Adolescent intermittent ethanol-exposed adult rats displayed anxiety-like behaviors and showed increased pro-opiomelanocortin mRNA levels in the hypothalamus and increased melanocortin 4 receptor mRNA levels in both the amygdala and hypothalamus compared with adolescent intermittent saline-exposed adult rats. The alpha-Melanocyte stimulating hormone and melanocortin 4 receptor protein levels were increased in the central and medial nucleus of the amygdala, paraventricular nucleus, and arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus in adolescent intermittent ethanol-exposed compared with adolescent intermittent saline-exposed adult rats. Neuropeptide Y protein levels were decreased in the central and medial nucleus of the amygdala of adolescent intermittent ethanol-exposed compared with adolescent intermittent saline-exposed adult rats. Histone H3K9/14 acetylation was decreased in the neuropeptide Y promoter in the amygdala but increased in the melanocortin 4 receptor gene promoter in the amygdala and the melanocortin 4 receptor and pro-opiomelanocortin promoters in the hypothalamus of adolescent intermittent ethanol-exposed adult rats compared with controls.

Conclusions

Increased melanocortin and decreased neuropeptide Y activity due to changes in histone acetylation in emotional brain circuitry may play a role in adolescent intermittent ethanol-induced anxiety phenotypes in adulthood.

Keywords: alcohol; adolescence; alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone; melanocortin 4 receptor; neuropeptide Y; histone H3 acetylation

Journal Article.  7433 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics ; Neurology ; Psychiatry ; Neuroscience

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