Chronic ethanol exposure impairs phosphorylation of CREB and CRE- binding activity in rat striatum

Xiaoju Yang, Kristin Horn, Gary S. Wand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined influences of ethanol exposure on phosphorylation of cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) and CRE-binding activity in the striatum of rats. The phosphorylated form of CREB increased 180% during acute intoxication, compared to sham conditions. After chronic ethanol exposure, induction of CREB phosphorylation by an acute ethanol challenge was markedly attenuated (50%) compared with acute ethanol exposure in the pair-fed condition. Gel retardation assays with oligomers encoding the rat proenkephalin CRE-1 and CRE-2 were performed to determine the effects of ethanol on CRE-binding activity. Supershift experiments demonstrated that striatal nuclear protein contains CREB and CEBPβ (CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein) and that both transcription factors are involved in specifically binding to the DNA sequence. Rechallenging rats that had been chronically exposed to ethanol with an acute ethanol challenge reduced the CRE/nuclear protein complexes. However, supershift analyses did not show that chronic ethanol exposure altered the dimerization patterns of CREB and CEBPβ within the complexes. Associated with these impairments in CREB binding and CREB phosphorylation was a significant reduction in two CREB-modulated factors, proenkephalin and c-fos expression. In summary, acute ethanol exposure activates the phosphorylation of CREB. Neuroadaptation to chronic ethanol exposure includes alterations in CREB physiology that may impair genes that are dependent upon CREB for transcriptional activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)382-390
Number of pages9
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998


  • Alcohol
  • CREB
  • Central Nervous System
  • Phosphorylation
  • Transcription Factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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