Neurochemical Research

, Volume 43, Issue 9, pp 1841–1854 | Cite as

Exposure of Rat Neural Stem Cells to Ethanol Affects Cell Numbers and Alters Expression of 28 Proteins

  • Mohammed A. Kashem
  • Nilufa Sultana
  • Vladimir J. Balcar
Original Paper


Developing brain cells express many proteins but little is known of how their protein composition responds to chronic exposure to alcohol and/or how such changes might relate to alcohol toxicity. We used cultures derived from embryonic rat brain (previously shown to contain mostly neural stem cells; rat NSC, rNSC), exposed them to ethanol (25–100 mM) for up to 96 h and studied how they reacted. Ethanol (50 and 100 mM) reduced cell numbers indicating either compromised cell proliferation, cytotoxicity or both. Increased lipid peroxidation was consistent with the presence of oxidative stress accompanying alcohol-induced cytotoxicity. Proteomics revealed 28 proteins as altered by ethanol (50 mM for 96 h). Some were constituents of cytoskeleton, others were involved in transcription/translation, signal transduction and oxidative stress. Nucleophosmin (NPM1) and dead-end protein homolog 1 (DND1) were further studied by immunological techniques in cultured neurons and astrocytes (derived from brain tissue at embryonic ages E15 and E20, respectively). In the case of DND1 (but not NPM1) ethanol induced similar pattern of changes in both types of cells. Given the critical role of the protein NPM1 in cell proliferation and differentiation, its reduced expression in the ethanol-exposed rNSC could, in part, explain the lower cells numbers. We conclude that chronic ethanol profoundly alters protein composition of rNSC to the extent that their functioning—including proliferation and survival—would be seriously compromised. Translated to humans, such changes could point the way towards mechanisms underlying the fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and/or alcoholism later in life.


Alcohol Proteomics Stem cells NPM1 DND1 FASD 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohammed A. Kashem
    • 1
  • Nilufa Sultana
    • 1
  • Vladimir J. Balcar
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Neurochemistry, Bosch Institute and Discipline of Anatomy and Histology, School of Medical Sciences, Sydney Medical SchoolThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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