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Alcohol intoxication resistance and alcohol dehydrogenase levels differ between the honeybee castes

Abstract : Various animal models are used in the study of alcoholism, with the honeybee (Apis mellifera L.) among them. Here, we tested the hypothesis that foragers show higher intoxication resistance to alcohol than nurses, an issue thus far not investigated. To this end, we measured the latency to full sedation when exposed to alcohol in foragers, nurses and reverted nurses. In addition, we measured alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) levels in these worker castes. Caste status was confirmed by comparison of the size of their hypopharyngeal glands. We detected high intoxication resistance to alcohol and presence of ADH in foragers. In nurses, we detected significantly lower intoxication resistance to alcohol and no ADH. These between-caste differences cannot be explained by the age difference between castes as in reverted nurses, characterized by similar age to foragers, we detected an intermediate intoxication resistance to alcohol and no ADH. Our results suggest possible natural exposure to alcohol in different castes of workers. As such, we further develop the honeybee as a model in alcoholism-related research and open new research avenues.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03400318
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Submitted on : Monday, October 25, 2021 - 5:11:10 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, December 7, 2021 - 3:33:15 PM

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Krzysztof Miler, Daniel Stec, Alicja Kamińska, Laura Pardyak, Karolina Kuszewska. Alcohol intoxication resistance and alcohol dehydrogenase levels differ between the honeybee castes. Apidologie, 2021, 52 (1), pp.230-241. ⟨10.1007/s13592-020-00812-y⟩. ⟨hal-03400318⟩

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