Hippocampal cholinergic alterations and related behavioral deficits after early exposure to ethanol

Chaim G. Pick*, Michael Cooperman, David Trombka, Yael Rogel-Fuchs, Joseph Yanai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The present study was designed to ascertain septohippocampal cholinergic alterations and their related behavioral deficits after early exposure to ethanol. Mouse pups were exposed to ethanol, 3 g/kg by daily subcutaneous injection on postnatal days 2-14. At age 50 days, the ethanol-exposed mice had significant reductions from control levels in eight-arm maze performance. For example, on the fourth testing day, the number of correct entries in the ethanol group was 21% below control levels (P < 0.05) and the number of trials needed to enter all arms was 48% above control (P < 0.001). It took the ethanol-exposed mice twice the time to reach criterion than it did control (P < 0.01). A 33% increase from control level in muscarinic receptor number (βmax) was found in the treated mice of age 22 days and a 64% increase at age 50 days (P < 0.001). However, no differences between control and treated groups could be detected in the presynaptic component of the cholinergic innervation, choline acetyltransferase activity. The results suggest that early ethanol exposure acts on hippocampal function similarly to phenobarbital, probably via alterations in postsynaptic processes in the septohippocampal cholinergic pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-385
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Developmental Neuroscience
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1993


FundersFunder number
Israeli Anti Drug
National Institute on Drug AbuseR01DA006670


    • choline acetyltransferase
    • early exposure
    • eight-arm maze
    • ethanol
    • hippocampus
    • mice
    • muscarinic receptors


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