Effects of ethanol consumption on mouse mammary gland
Vasantha Kumar, Shyam Charan
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Background. Folate is an important water soluble vitamin belonging to the B-complex. Obtained naturally through the diet, folate is essential for the maintenance of DNA methylation and normal cell growth. Chronic ethanol consumption is a major public health concern which is often accompanied with inadequate folate that can result in impaired metabolic function which in turn may contribute to contribute to breast cancer risk. The first hypothesis tested in this study was whether chronic ethanol consumption could cause folate depletion in a mouse model. The second hypothesis that was tested was whether chronic ethanol consumption could cause neoplastic changes in the developing breast. Methods. For the first hypothesis, frozen liver and kidney tissues were obtained from a previous study in which mice were subjected to folate deficiency in the presence and absence of chronic ethanol consumption as well as control groups having normal folate levels in their diet in the presence or absence of chronic ethanol exposure. For the second hypothesis four new experimental groups of mice were generated. Mice were 21-28 days of age at the start of the experiment. All groups were fed isocaloric amino acid defined, folate-free liquid diets that differed in composition as follows. Group 1 consisted of mice receiving a diet with ethanol and folate supplementation. Group 2 consisted of a pair fed control for group 1 receiving a diet supplemented with folate but no ethanol. Group 3 received a diet supplemented with ethanol but which lacked folate. Group 4 consisted of a pair fed control for group 3 receiving a diet with no ethanol or folate supplementation. Each groups diet was implemented after an acclimation period of one week to the control diet. Followed by one week acclimation to low dose ethanol exposure (1.6%) followed by another week of medium ethanol exposure (3.2%) for groups 1 and 3. During the third week groups 1 and 3 were introduced to full strength ethanol (4.0%). At the end of the third week all the mice were euthanized and the liver, spleen, blood and mammary gland were removed weighed and fixed for histological examination of neoplastic changes. Results. Folate concentrations in the liver are depleted due to lack of folate restriction regardless of ethanol consumption. Folate concentrations in the kidney are affected by ethanol consumption during folate restriction and partially ameliorated when folate supplementation is provided. Histological examination revealed no effects of ethanol and/or folate depletion on the development of neoplastic changes in the breast tissue after 1 week of dietary exposure conditions used in this study.