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Effect of acute alcohol exposure on oxidative stress in human brain cells.


Alcohol abuse costs Australia $15.3 billion annually and claims the lives of 2.5 million people every year. Ethanol is a psychoactive depressant in the CNS and plays a role in many pathophysiological conditions. The mechanism by which alcohol causes damage to the brain is however poorly understood. Studies show that in some cells (e.g. hepatocytes) ethanol has the ability to alter cellular metabolism, effect DNA damage and reduce cell viability potentially leading to cell death.  Available evidence points to the involvement of increased free radical production and a resultant state of oxidative stress. Research on alcohol-induced oxidative stress has centred around in vitro studies of the liver and in vivo studies of chronic alcohol abusers. However, studies of the cellular effects of alcohol in human brain cells are surprisingly few. Investigating ethanol’s affect on specific brain cells is important if we are to satisfactorily determine whether alcohol is friend or foe. 

Study Aims

  • To investigate the effect of acute ethanol exposure on oxidative stress and NAD(H) related biochemistry within human brain cells.

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