Ethanol induces MAP2 changes in organotypic hippocampal slice cultures

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MICROTUBULE-ASSOCIATED protein 2 (MAP2) and neuron-specific protein (NeuN) immunostains were used to demonstrate neurotoxic effects in mature hippocampal slice cultures exposed to ethanol (50, 100, 200 mM) for 4 weeks. At the low dose the density of MAP2 immunostaining in the dentate molecular layer was 118% of the control cultures, with no detectable changes in CA1 and CA3. At 100 mM no changes were detected, while 200 mM ethanol significantly reduced the MAP2 density in both dentate (19%) and hippocampal dendritic fields (CA3, 52%; CA1, 55%). At this dose NeuN staining showed considerable loss of CA3 pyramidal cells and moderate loss of dentate granule cells, as seen in vivo. The results indicate that brain slice cultures combined with immunostaining for cytoskeleton and neuronal markers can be used for studies of ethanol and organic solvent neurotoxicity.

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