Astrocyte-specific transcriptome responses to chronic ethanol consumption

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Astrocytes play critical roles in central nervous system (CNS) homeostasis and are implicated in the pathogenesis of neurological and psychiatric conditions, including drug dependence. Little is known about the effects of chronic ethanol consumption on astrocyte gene expression. To address this gap in knowledge, we performed transcriptome-wide RNA sequencing of astrocytes isolated from the prefrontal cortex (PFC) of mice following chronic ethanol consumption. Differential expression analysis revealed ethanol-induced changes unique to astrocytes that were not identified in total homogenate preparations. Astrocyte-specific gene expression revealed calcium-related signaling and regulation of extracellular matrix genes as responses to chronic ethanol use. These findings emphasize the importance of investigating expression changes in specific cellular populations to define molecular consequences of chronic ethanol consumption in mammalian brain.

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We thank Mendy Black and Adriana Dacosta for assisting with drinking experiments.

Author information


  1. Waggoner Center for Alcoholism and Addiction Research, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, 78712, USA

    • Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, 78712, USA

      • Emma K. Erickson
      •  & R. Adron Harris


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    The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

    Corresponding author

    Correspondence to Emma K. Erickson.

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