Prenatal ethanol exposure modifies [3H]MK-801 binding to NMDA receptors: spermidine and ifenprodil.Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2003 Dec; 27(12):1993-2001.AC
It has been suggested that abnormalities seen in fetal alcohol syndrome are linked with NMDA receptor malfunction. Our laboratory has previously shown that prenatal ethanol treatment decreases [3H]MK-801 binding density at postnatal day 21, when NMDA receptor subunit protein levels were unaltered. Thus, the focus of the present study was to examine whether prenatal ethanol modifies native NMDA receptor levels.
Cerebral cortices were taken from offspring born to three treatment groups of pregnant Sprague Dawley(R) rats: an ethanol group given an ethanol liquid diet during the gestational period, a pair-fed control group that received a liquid diet without ethanol, and an ad libitum group fed rat chow and tap water. Western blot studies were carried out at postnatal days 1, 7, 14, and 21 to examine total protein expression of NR1 and NR1b splice variants. NR2 subunit levels were examined by [3H]MK-801 binding studies using spermidine, an endogenous polyamine, and ifenprodil, a selective NR2B antagonist.
[3H]MK-801 binding density was significantly reduced in prenatal ethanol-treated groups compared with ad libitum and pair-fed control groups. Spermidine increased [3H]MK-801 binding, although potentiation by spermidine was not significantly different among all three experimental groups. Furthermore, no significant differences in total protein expression of NR1 or NR1b splice variants were observed in cortical membrane homogenates at postnatal days 1 through 21. [3H]MK-801 binding in the presence of ifenprodil showed that prenatal ethanol treatment significantly decreased low-affinity ifenprodil binding. High-affinity ifenprodil binding was reduced in both pair-fed and ethanol-treated groups.
These results suggest that prenatal ethanol treatment reduces [3H]MK-801 binding and that this reduction may be due to a decrease in NR2A subunits.