TTUHSC South Plains Alcohol and Addiction Research Center
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Principal Investigator: Peter J. Syapin

Co-Investigator: Charles A. Bradley

    The PI is part of a multidisciplinary initiative to investigate neuropathological and cognitive consequences of binge drinking by adolescents and young adults. Our working hypothesis is that each drinking binge represents a neurological insult and that the severity of damage arises from the duration, frequency, and intensity of binges. Our long term objectives are to develop a multidisciplinary translational research investigation of the neuropathological, cognitive functioning, and psychological sequelae of binge drinking by adolescents and young adults. The goal is to incorporate research with human participants and relevant animal models to identify the impact of binge drinking on brain structure, biochemistry, and function. This collaborative research program unites School of Medicine faculty expertise and resources with other Texas Tech faculty and lies the foundation to make TTUHSC-TTU a nationally prominent site for translational alcohol use disorders (AUD) research. Clinical and basic science evidence suggests that brain processes of adolescents and young adults may be particularly susceptible to alcohol binge-induced insults. Our working hypothesis is supported by animal studies showing intense four-day alcohol binge exposure produces neuropathology and memory deficits in adult rats, and that adolescent rats are more susceptible to this drug effect. The purpose of this seed grant proposal is to collect data on a specific aspect of our hypothesis that will be used as a pilot study for grant applications to external funding sources such as the NIH. The Specific Aims of this proposal are:

1.  To test the hypothesis that serum levels of S100B and CK-BB (protein markers related to brain damage) are increased in proportion to the duration and amount of binge alcohol consumption during adolescence in a rat model.

2.  To test the hypothesis that increased serum S100B or CK-BB levels following binge alcohol consumption reflect CNS release by comparing serum to cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels in rats.

Two procedures for binge alcohol consumption will be used; the intense 4-day alcohol binge exposure and a less intense every-other-day alcohol binge exposure. Adult males will receive the 4-day intense binge and adolescent males (32-46 days old) with receive the every-other-day binge.  CSF and/or blood will be drawn at euthanasia and used to assay S100B levels by ELISA and CK-BB protein by electrophoresis . Brains will be collected and assayed for neuropathology using the amino-cupric-silver histology technique of de Olmos, and immunocytochemistry. Binge drinking by adolescent and young adults is a major health concern in the USA. Our research can help explain if, and how badly this behavior damages the brains of adolescents.