Chronic poly-drug administration damages adult mouse brain neural stem cells

Erica L. McGrath, Caitlin R. Schlagal, Ibdanelo Cortez, Tiffany J. Dunn, Junling Gao, Robert G. Fox, Sonja J. Stutz, Yong Fang Kuo, Jonathan D. Hommel, Kelly T. Dineley, Kathryn A. Cunningham, Bhupendra S. Kaphalia, Ping Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Cocaine and ethanol are two commonly co-abused substances; however, the neuropathology following chronic dual consumption is poorly understood. Neural stem cells (NSCs) are a subpopulation of cells within the adult brain that are integral to brain maintenance and repair making them an appealing target to reverse neurodegeneration associated with abused substances. Yet, knowledge about NSC response to chronic poly-drug administration of ethanol and cocaine is minimal. Here, we developed a novel chronic poly-drug administration paradigm of ethanol and cocaine using a transgenic mouse model to trace endogenous NSC survival and differentiation in three brain regions from both male and female mice. We report significant and distinct patterns of NSC survival and differentiation among brain regions, as well as between sexes. Additionally, poly-drug administration had synergistic effects on NSC survival. Altered cognitive and hedonic behaviors were also observed, however the extent of these behavioral changes was not proportional to the NSC changes. With this mouse model we can effectively examine cognitive and behavioral changes and correlate them with pathological changes in the brain in response to chronic poly-drug administration, which is of great value in understanding the progression of neurodegeneration in polysubstance use disorders and evaluation potential therapeutics on neuroregeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number146425
JournalBrain Research
StatePublished - Nov 15 2019


  • Cocaine
  • Ethanol
  • Neural stem cells
  • Neurogenesis
  • Poly-drug
  • Tanycyte layer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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