Immunostained serotonergic fibers are decreased in selected brain regions of alcohol-preferring rats

F. C. Zhou, S. Bledsoe, L. Lumeng, T. K. Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

94 Scopus citations


The levels of serotonin (5-HT) and 5-hydroxyindole-acetic acid (5-HIAA) are decreased in the hippocampus, nucleus accumbens, and cortex of selectively bred alcohol-preferring (P) rats, compared with the alcohol-nonpreferring (NP) rats. In this study, we have confirmed these findings by immunocytochemistry and quantitative image analysis which indicates that there is a reduction of 5-HT immunostained fibers in several brain areas of alcohol-naive P rats. Three major areas possibly related to alcohol drinking, hippocampus, accumbens, and cortex, were examined. Pathways to these areas were also examined. The 5-HT fiber bundles had the same pattern in P and NP rats. However, in the terminal regions of the ventral hippocampus, the amount of 5-HT fibers was reduced in P rats as compared with NP rats. The 5-HT fibers in the hilus and CA4 of the dentate gyrus were also significantly decreased in the P rats. No differences in fiber density were seen in the anterior nucleus accumbens, but a significant decrease was seen in the middle medial and posterior accumbens of P rats. In the cortical regions examined, decreases in 5-HT fibers were observed in the posterior cingulum and anterior frontal cortex, but not in the insular frontal cortex of P rats. These observations indicate that there are quantitative decreases in 5-HT innervations or that the 5-HT in some 5-HT fibers is reduced to a level undetectable by immunocytochemistry in the brains of P rats when compared with that of NP rats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-431
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991


  • 5-HT
  • Accumbens
  • Alcoholism
  • Animal model
  • Cortex
  • Hippocampus
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Serotonin innervation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Medicine(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Toxicology
  • Health(social science)

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