The influence of alcohol on behavioral recovery after mTBI in mice

Renana Baratz, Vardit Rubovitch, Hanan Frenk, Chaim G. Pick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


In the United States 258,000 people were injured in 2004 in motor vehicle accidents that were caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol. The majority of these drivers were binge drinkers, most notably young people who tend to drink heavily during the weekends, but rarely drink alcohol during the week. Since a large proportion of the injuries involved head injuries, the present study aimed at investigating the influence of binge alcohol drinking on mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) in an animal model. Mice had access to 0%, 7.5%, 15%, or 30% alcohol solutions for 48 consecutive hours once a week for 4 weeks as the sole source of fluids (the remaining time they drank water). Three experiments were done. For the first one (alcohol-mTBI-alcohol) the animals were subjected to a controlled mTBI injury by applying a closed-head weight drop, or a sham procedure. After the mTBI/sham-mTBI the animals got alcohol and /water for the same regimen for 4 additional weeks. In the second experiment (alcohol only) after the 4 weeks of drinking blood samples were collected, at the same time as the animals that underwent sham-mTBI or mTBI procedures. In the third experiment (mTBI-alcohol) the mice were subjected to mTBI/sham-mTBI without any treatment, and after mTBI they had alcohol for 4 weeks in the same regimen as in the previous experiments. At the end of the pharmacological treatment all animals were assessed using different behavioral tests. mTBI mice exhibited lower memory ability in the Y-maze, higher anxiety in the elevated plus maze, and lower retention in the passive avoidance test than sham-mTBI animals. Alcohol reversed these effects at all doses. The results suggest that alcohol drinking before trauma might have a protective effect on recovery from brain trauma,but not if consumed after the trauma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-563
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2010


  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Axonal injury
  • Behavioral assessment
  • Binge alcohol drinking
  • Traumatic brain injury


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