To date, joint use of alcohol (EtOH) and ethamphetamine (MA) represents a specific combination of polydrug abuse. Repeated administrations of EtOH, MA, and combined EtOH and MA were assessed for their effects on brain cell toxicity, cell mitosis and anxiety/ depression-like behavior. We found that repeated coadministrations of EtOH and MA produced profound nxiogenic effects. Specifically, combined EtOH and MA decreased open arm exploratory responses in the elevated plus maze test. Moreover, combined EtOH and MA significantly decreased immobile responses in the tail suspension test. MA, EtOH, and their combination all reduced the number of NeuN-positive cells in amygdala (Amg), hile neither of them altered the number of NeuN-positive cells in striatum (St) or prefrontal cortex (PFC). Combined EtOH and MA decreased the number of NeuN-positive cells in dentate gyrus (DG). EtOH, MA, and combined EtOH and MA all diminished comparable number of GFAP-positive cells in Amg, DG, and St. Neither of these treatment affected the number of GFAP-positive cells in PFC. EtOH, MA, and combined EtOH and MA generated comparable inhibiting effects on cell proliferation in the subventricular zone (SVZ) and DG. These results, taken together, suggest that repeated co-administrations of MA and EtOH may produce an observable anxiogenic effect. This combination-produced anxiogenic effect could be associated with neuronal loss in the dentate gurus. In contrast, such an anxiogenic effect is less likely related to this combination-caused glial toxicity in limbic regions or cell proliferation-inhibiting effect in the SVZ or DG.
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