Binge drinking of high ethanol (EtOH) concentration beverages is common among young adults and can be a risk factor for exposure to sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV-1. We used a novel noninfectious HIV-1 transgenic (HIV-1Tg) rat model that mimics HIV-1 patients in terms of altered immune responses and deficits in cognitive learning and memory to investigate EtOH concentration-dependent effects on 48 alcohol-modulated genes during binge EtOH administration.
HIV-1Tg and control F344 rats were administered water, 8% EtOH, or 52% EtOH by gavage (i.g.) for 3 days (2.0 g/kg/d). Two hours after final treatment, blood, liver, and spleen were collected from each animal. Serum blood EtOH concentration (BEC) was measured, and gene expression in the liver and spleen was determined using a specifically designed PCR array.
The BEC was significantly higher in the 52% EtOH-treated HIV-1Tg rats compared with the 8% EtOH group; however, the BEC was higher in the 8% EtOH-treated control rats compared with the 52% EtOH group. There was no change in expression of the EtOH metabolism-related genes, Adh1, Adh4, and Cyp2e1, in either the 8 or 52% EtOH-treated HIV-1Tg rats, whereas expression of those genes was significantly higher in the liver of the 52% EtOH control rats, but not in the 8% EtOH group. In the HIV-1Tg rats, expression of the GABAA, metabotropic glutamate, and dopamine neurotransmitter receptor genes was significantly increased in the spleen of the 52% EtOH group, but not in the 8% EtOH group, whereas no change was observed in those genes in either of the control groups.
Our data indicate that, in the presence of HIV-1 infection, EtOH concentration-dependent binge drinking can have significantly different molecular effects.