Cytotoxic effect of alcohol-withdrawal on primary cultures of cortical neurones

József Nagy, Ferenc Müller, Lajos László

Research output: Article

26 Citations (Scopus)


Physical dependence on alcohol was observed previously at the cellular level in cultured IM-9 human lymphoblast cells. To answer the question whether physical dependence can also develop in neurones and to investigate the neuronal processes involved in the development of alcohol dependence and withdrawal symptoms, cultures of cortical neurones were adapted to alcohol. Morphological characteristics of neurones were not altered during the chronic (3-day) repeated (once per day) ethanol (50-100 mM) treatment, whereas obvious signs of neuronal damage were seen after the following 24 h of alcohol-withdrawal. The extent of the damage, quantitated by measuring the release of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) into the culture media, was dependent on the concentration of ethanol in the medium during adaptation. LDH-release induced by alcohol-withdrawal was significantly reduced by re-addition of ethanol, as well as by administration of non-competitive (MK-801) or NR2B selective (threo-ifenprodil) N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists. The sigma ligand haloperidol and the L-type voltage sensitive calcium channel blocker nimodipine were also effective, whereas the effect of the gamma-aminobutyric acid type A (GABAA) receptor agonist muscimol was not significant. Furthermore, chronic ethanol treatment potentiated the NMDA induced neurotoxicity and the ability of acute alcohol to inhibit LDH-release in response to NMDA. According to these results, (i) the phenomenon of alcohol-dependence can be observed at the level of neurones and (ii) NMDA receptors seem to play a central role in the development of ethanol dependence and in neurotoxicity induced by alcohol-withdrawal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-162
Number of pages8
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - jan. 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Cytotoxic effect of alcohol-withdrawal on primary cultures of cortical neurones'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this