Memory deficits following chronic alcohol consumption in mice: relationships with hippocampal and cortical cholinergic activities
Beracochea, D.; Micheau, J.; Jaffard, R.
Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior 42(4): 749-753
ISSN/ISBN: 0091-3057 PMID: 1513857 DOI: 10.1016/0091-3057(92)90024-a
Chronic ethanol consumption (12% v/v for 12 months) produced an accelerated decay of T -maze spontaneous alternation (SA) rates as the interval that elapsed between forced trials, used as acquisition, and a free test trial, used as a retention test, increased. Thus, alcohol-treated mice that exhibited normal SA rates at a short interval (5 min) were impaired at the longer one (6 h) relative to controls. This alcohol-induced deficit was almost completely reversed by physostigmine (0.05 mg/kg, IP) given only before the test trial. Parallel neurochemical analysis showed that chronic alcohol intake produced a significant decrease in hippocampal and cortical sodium-dependent high-affinity choline uptake. In particular, the significant cholinergic activation produced by a T-maze exploration in controls was attenuated by experimental subjects so that the between-groups differences already present in the quiet condition were amplified in the active (exploration) state. These findings suggest that the memory deficits induced by chronic ethanol consumption stem from a failure of some cholinergic-dependent retrieval processes. An attempt is made to relate the present results with our previous ones that emphasized the importance of diencephalic damage in alcohol-induced retrieval deficits.