Alcohol binge-drinking during adolescence is a serious public health concern with long-term consequences. We used RNA sequencing to assess the effects of excessive adolescent ethanol binge-drinking on gene expression in the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) of alcohol preferring (P) rats. Repeated binges across adolescence (three 1 h sessions across the dark-cycle per day, 5 days per week for 3 weeks starting at 28 days of age; ethanol intakes of 2.5-3 g/kg/session) significantly altered the expression of approximately one-third of the detected genes. Multiple neurotransmitter systems were altered, with the largest changes in the serotonin system (21 of 23 serotonin-related genes showed decreased expression) and GABA-A receptors (8 decreased and 2 increased). Multiple neuropeptide systems were also altered, with changes in the neuropeptide Y and corticotropin-releasing hormone systems similar to those associated with increased drinking and decreased resistance to stress. There was increased expression of 21 of 32 genes for potassium channels. Expression of downstream targets of CREB signaling was increased. There were also changes in expression of genes involved in inflammatory processes, axonal guidance, growth factors, transcription factors, and several intracellular signaling pathways. These widespread changes indicate that excessive binge drinking during adolescence alters the functioning of the DRN and likely its modulation of many regions of the central nervous system, including the mesocorticolimbic system.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biological Psychiatry
- Behavioral Neuroscience