Ethanol induces profound alterations in the neuronal signaling systems, including the calcium (Ca2+) signaling. Prolonged exposure to ethanol evokes adaptive changes in the affected systems as they strive to restore the normal neuronal function. We investigated the involvement of calmodulin (CaM) genes, coding for the major mediator protein of intracellular Ca2+ signals, in these adaptive processes at the mRNA level. The changes induced in the regional abundances of the CaM I, II, and III mRNA classes by chronic ethanol treatment and withdrawal were examined by means of quantitative in situ hybridization, employing gene-specific [35S]cRNA probes on rat brain cryostat sections. Regional analysis of the resulting changes in mRNA levels highlighted brain areas that belong in neuronal systems known to be especially sensitive to the action of ethanol. The results revealed systematically differential regulation for the three mRNA classes: the CaM I and CaM III mRNA levels displayed increases, and CaM II levels decreases in the affected brain regions, in both chronic ethanol- and withdrawal-treated animals. As regards the numbers of brain regions undergoing significant alterations in mRNA content, the CaM I mRNA levels exhibited changes in most brain areas, the CaM II levels did so in a lower number of brain regions, and the CaM III levels changed in only a few brain areas. These results suggest a differential regulation for the CaM genes in the rat brain and may help towards elucidation of the functional significance of the multiple CaM genes in the mammalian genome. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience