Severe Diffuse Axon Injury in Chronic Alcoholic Rat Medulla Oblongata Following a Concussion Blow

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Aims: We investigated the axonal morphological changes and expression of both tau protein and β-APP following concussion to the medulla oblongata, in a rat model of chronic alcoholism. Methods: Fifty-nine male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into EtOH, EtOH-TBI and control groups (water group, water-TBI group). To establish chronic alcoholic rats, rats were intragastrically given edible spirituous liquor twice daily. Rats also received a blow on the occipital tuberosity with an iron pendulum. Morphological changes and expression of tau and β-APP proteins in the medulla oblongata were examined. Results: (a) Nerve fibre thickening and twisting were observed in alcoholic rats, with nerve fibre changes becoming more significant following a concussion blow, which leads to some nerve fibres fracturing. (b) Transmission electron microscopy revealed that the nerve fibre myelin became loosened and displayed lamellar separation, which became more significant following concussion. (c) The integral optical density (IOD) sum value of β-APP of the EtOH-TBI group was lower than that in the EtOH group (P < 0.05); the Tau IOD sum value of the EtOH-TBI group was higher than that in the EtOH group (P < 0.05). Conclusion: (a) Chronic alcoholism caused nerve fibre and neuronal morphology damage in the rat medulla oblongata, with structural damage becoming more significant following concussion. (b) Concussion changed the expression of β-APP and tau protein in chronic alcoholic rat medulla oblongata, suggesting that chronic alcoholism can lead to severe axonal injury following a concussion blow. (c) The effect of chronic alcoholism may be synergistic the concussion blow to promote animal injury and death.

  1. Alcohol and Alcoholism

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