Signal transduction and neurotoxicity: What can we learn from experimental culture systems?

Lucio G. Costa, Gennaro Giordano, Marina Guizzetti

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Signal transduction is a key process to transmit information from the extracellular milieu, and to elicit changes in the biological activity of target cells. Several cell signaling pathways can be targeted by neurotoxicants and developmental neurotoxicants. This chapter focuses on the interactions of ethanol, a known human developmental neurotoxicant, with signal transduction pathways stimulated by acetylcholine through activation of muscarinic receptors. It shows how initial observations in vivo, upon developmental exposure to ethanol, have been followed-up by a series of studies in cell culture systems which have allowed the discoveries that ethanol, by interfering with muscarinic signaling in astroglial cells, inhibits their proliferation and their ability to foster neuronal differentiation. Such effects of alcohol may be related to microencephaly and abnormal neuronal development, two hallmarks of the fetal alcohol syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCell Culture Techniques
EditorsMichael Aschner, Cristina Sunol, Anna Bal-Price
Number of pages14
StatePublished - Mar 18 2011
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

ISSN (Print)0893-2336
ISSN (Electronic)1940-6045


  • Astroglial cells
  • Ethanol
  • Muscarinic receptors
  • Signal transduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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