Single-dose ethanol intoxication causes acute and lasting neuronal changes in the brain

Johannes Knabbe, Jil Protzmann, Niklas Schneider, Michael Berger, Dominik Dannehl, Shoupeng Wei, Christopher Strahle, Michèle Tegtmeier, Astha Jaiswal, Hongwei Zheng, Marcus Krüger, Karl Rohr, Rainer Spanagel, Ainhoa Bilbao, Maren Engelhardt, Henrike Scholz, Sidney B. Cambridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Alcohol intoxication at early ages is a risk factor for the development of addictive behavior. To uncover neuronal molecular correlates of acute ethanol intoxication, we used stable-isotope–labeled mice combined with quantitative mass spectrometry to screen more than 2,000 hippocampal proteins, of which 72 changed synaptic abundance up to twofold after ethanol exposure. Among those were mitochondrial proteins and proteins important for neuronal morphology, including MAP6 and ankyrin-G. Based on these candidate proteins, we found acute and lasting molecular, cellular, and behavioral changes following a single intoxication in alcohol-naïve mice. Immunofluorescence analysis revealed a shortening of axon initial segments. Longitudinal two-photon in vivo imaging showed increased synaptic dynamics and mitochondrial trafficking in axons. Knockdown of mitochondrial trafficking in dopaminergic neurons abolished conditioned alcohol preference in Drosophila flies. This study introduces mitochondrial trafficking as a process implicated in reward learning and highlights the potential of high-resolution proteomics to identify cellular mechanisms relevant for addictive behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2122477119
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number25
StatePublished - 21 Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Drosophila
  • addiction
  • ethanol
  • plasticity
  • two-photon microscopy


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