Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Mark A. Prendergast


An estimated 13.9% of Americans currently meet criteria for an alcohol (ethanol; EtOH) use disorder (AUD). While there are 4 medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat AUD, these treatments have demonstrated poor clinical efficacy. Our ongoing research program encompasses a multi-tiered screening of a natural product library and validation process to provide novel information about the mechanisms underlying EtOH-induced changes in neurobiology and to identify novel chemical scaffolds to be exploited in the development of pharmacological treatments for AUD in a rodent organotypic hippocampal slice culture model. Initial screens of several natural product compounds identified 3 compounds which attenuate 48 h EtOH-induced cytotoxicity in vitro. As analogs of natural products can be developed to have enhanced therapeutic potential over parental structures, Study 1 sought to extend on prior findings via the screening of several natural product analogs for their ability to attenuate EtOH-induced cytoxicity. Nine natural produce analogs demonstrated potent cytoprotective effects against EtOH-induced toxicity at 48 h. Several reports suggest EtOH-induced neurotoxicity may be secondary to the induction of persistent neuroimmune activation, and isoflavonoids have been shown to have effects on neuroimmune signaling. Thus, Study 2 compared the effects of compound 9b, an isoflavonoid analog identified in Study 1, to daidzein (DZ), a prototypical isoflavonoid, in the same 48 h model, with the addition of a neuroimmune component. Specifically, culture media was collected to assess for the release of the neuroimmune mediators HMGB1, TNF-α, IL-6, and IL-10 via ELISA. Compound 9b and DZ protected against EtOH-induced cytotoxicity at 48 h. EtOH exposure significantly increased secretion of HMGB1 and IL-6 into culture media at 48h. Compound 9b and DZ attenuated these increases at all concentrations tested. These results suggest potential neuroimmune modulating properties of isoflavonoids which may contribute to their neuroprotective effects against EtOH in vitro. These findings highlight the potential applications DZ and the novel isoflavonoid analog 9b for use in the treatment of AUD.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)