Background: An estimated 18 million adults in the United States meet the clinical criteria for diagnosis of alcohol abuse or alcoholism, a disorder ranked as the third leading cause of preventable death. In addition to brain pathology, heavy alcohol consumption is comorbid with damage to major organs including heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, and kidneys. Much of what is known about risk for and consequences of heavy consumption derive from rodent or retrospective human studies. The neurobiological effects of chronic intake in rodent studies may not easily translate to humans due to key differences in brain structure and organization between species, including a lack of higher-order cognitive functions, and differences in underlying prefrontal cortical neural structures that characterize the primate brain. Further, rodents do not voluntarily consume large quantities of ethanol (EtOH) and they metabolize it more rapidly than primates.
Methods: The basis of the Monkey Alcohol Tissue Research Resource (MATRR) is that nonhuman primates, specifically monkeys, show a range of drinking excessive amounts of alcohol (>3.0 g/kg or a 12 drink equivalent per day) over long periods of time (12 to 30 months) with concomitant pathological changes in endocrine, hepatic, and central nervous system (CNS) processes. The patterns and range of alcohol intake that monkeys voluntarily consume parallel what is observed in humans with alcohol use disorders and the longitudinal experimental design spans stages of drinking from the EtOH-naïve state to early exposure through chronic abuse. Age- and sex-matched control animals self-administer an isocaloric solution under identical operant procedures.
Results: The MATRR is a unique postmortem tissue bank that provides CNS and peripheral tissues, and associated bioinformatics from monkeys that self-administer EtOH using a standardized experimental paradigm to the broader alcohol research community.
Conclusions: This resource provides a translational platform from which we can better understand the disease processes associated with alcoholism.
Keywords: Alcohol; Bioinformatics; Monkey; Self-Administration; Tissue Repository.
Copyright © 2014 by the Research Society on Alcoholism.