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Dr Ruth Napper

Ruth NapperDr Ruth Napper is investigating the role of binge-like exposure to alcohol during development on acute and long-term changes in the structure and function of the brain.

Maternal abuse of alcohol during pregnancy is known to be harmful to the developing fetus and may result in long-term damage to the brain which, in turn, impacts behaviour. Dr Napper also suspects that alcohol abuse during early adolescence alters the maturation of the brain leading to long-term structural and functional changes.

Animal models are used to assess the impact of binge ethanol exposure during fetal and adolescent brain development. Both the precise timing of alcohol exposure, with respect to the stage of brain development, and the blood alcohol concentration achieved during alcohol exposure are variables under investigation. These variants are considered to be crucial determinants of whether or not permanent brain damage will occur. The structure of defined brain regions is investigated using stereological (quantitative) techniques and immunohistochemical methods. Behavioural tests are used to determine whether alcohol-induced structural brain damage leads to changes in behaviour.

Find out more about Dr Napper’s research.

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Publications

Smith, C. C., Guévremont, D., Williams, J. M., & Napper, R. M. A. (2015). Apoptotic cell death and temporal expression of apoptotic proteins Bcl-2 and Bax in the hippocampus, following binge ethanol in the neonatal rat model. Alcoholism, 39(1), 36-44. doi: 10.1111/acer.12606

Idrus, N. M., & Napper, R. M. A. (2012). Acute and long-term Purkinje cell loss following a single ethanol binge during the early third trimester equivalent in the rat. Alcoholism, 36(8), 1365-1373. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2012.01743.x

Zheng, Y., Balabhadrapatruni, S., Baek, J. H., Chung, P., Gliddon, C., Zhang, M., Darlington, C. L., Napper, R., … Smith, P. F. (2012). The effects of bilateral vestibular loss on hippocampal volume, neuronal number, and cell proliferation in rats. Frontiers in Neurology, 3, 20. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2012.00020

Clements, K. M., Smith, L. M., Reynolds, J. N. J., Overton, P. G., Thomas, J. D., & Napper, R. M. (2012). Early postnatal ethanol exposure: Glutamatergic excitotoxic cell death during acute withdrawal. Neurophysiology, 44(5), 376-386. doi: 10.1007/s11062-012-9308-7

Hamodeh, S., Eicke, D., Napper, R. M. A., Harvey, R. J., & Sultan, F. (2010). Population based quantification of dendrites: Evidence for the lack of microtubule-associate protein 2a,b in Purkinje cell spiny dendrites. Neuroscience, 170(4), 1004-1014. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2010.08.021

Other Research Output

Napper, R. (2010, March). Alcohol and the developing brain: Not a good mix. Brain Day Dunedin, University of Otago, New Zealand. [Public Lecture].

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Journal - Research Article

Smith, C. C., Guévremont, D., Williams, J. M., & Napper, R. M. A. (2015). Apoptotic cell death and temporal expression of apoptotic proteins Bcl-2 and Bax in the hippocampus, following binge ethanol in the neonatal rat model. Alcoholism, 39(1), 36-44. doi: 10.1111/acer.12606

Zheng, Y., Balabhadrapatruni, S., Baek, J. H., Chung, P., Gliddon, C., Zhang, M., Darlington, C. L., Napper, R., … Smith, P. F. (2012). The effects of bilateral vestibular loss on hippocampal volume, neuronal number, and cell proliferation in rats. Frontiers in Neurology, 3, 20. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2012.00020

Idrus, N. M., & Napper, R. M. A. (2012). Acute and long-term Purkinje cell loss following a single ethanol binge during the early third trimester equivalent in the rat. Alcoholism, 36(8), 1365-1373. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2012.01743.x

Clements, K. M., Smith, L. M., Reynolds, J. N. J., Overton, P. G., Thomas, J. D., & Napper, R. M. (2012). Early postnatal ethanol exposure: Glutamatergic excitotoxic cell death during acute withdrawal. Neurophysiology, 44(5), 376-386. doi: 10.1007/s11062-012-9308-7

Hamodeh, S., Eicke, D., Napper, R. M. A., Harvey, R. J., & Sultan, F. (2010). Population based quantification of dendrites: Evidence for the lack of microtubule-associate protein 2a,b in Purkinje cell spiny dendrites. Neuroscience, 170(4), 1004-1014. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2010.08.021

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

Napper, R. M. A. (2011). Animal models: Their role in understanding brain dysfunction. In G. Sutherland, P. Cragg & M. Fisher (Eds.), Proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Council for the Care of Animals in Research and Teaching (ANZCCART) Conference: Science with feeling: Animals and people. (pp. 92-97). Wellington, New Zealand: ANZCCART. [Full Paper]

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Hopping, M., & Napper, R. M. A. (2011). Development of the adolescent rat prefrontal cortex: A Golgi study. Proceedings of the Australian Neuroscience Society (ANS) Annual Scientific Meeting. (pp. 129). Retrieved from http://www.ans.org.au/uploads/documents/2011%20Docs/conference%20abstracts/ANS%202011%20Poster%20Abstracts.pdf

Balabhadrapatruni, S., Napper, R., Zheng, Y., Darlington, C. L., & Smith, P. F. (2011). Effects of bilateral vestibular deafferentation on the dendritic morphology of CA1 pyramidal neurones: A Golgi study. In B. Leitch (Ed.), Proceedings of the 29th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. 29, 5.35. AWCBR. Retrieved from http://psy.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/abstracts/abstracts2011.html

Balabhadrapatruni, S., Zheng, Y., Darlington, C. L., Napper, R., & Smith, P. F. (2010). Long-term effects of bilateral vestibular deafferentation on the total number of neurons in the subregions of the hippocampus estimated using the optical fractionator. In B. Leitch (Ed.), Proceedings of the 28th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. 28, (pp. 29). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://psy.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/Abstracts/Abstracts2010.htm

Hamodeh, S., Eicke, D., Napper, R., Harvey, R. J., & Sultan, F. (2009). Quantitative dendritic organization of rat cerebellar molecular layer: A MAP-2a,b immunostaining and laser scanning microscopic approach. Proceedings of the Society for Neuroscience 39th Annual Meeting. SfN. Retrieved from http://www.abstractsonline.com/plan/AdvancedSearch.aspx

Shoemack, P., & Napper, R. M. A. (2009). A single ethanol binge on PN6 produces neuronal loss in the anterior cingulate cortex. In R. Napper (Ed.), Proceedings of the 27th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. 27, (pp. 33). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://psy.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/Abstracts/Abstracts2009.htm

Napper, R., & Shoemack, P. (2008). A single binge ethanol exposure on postnatal day six results in a dose dependent deficit in spatial learning in adult rats. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 32(6, Suppl. 1), (pp. 229A). doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2008.00685.x-i1

Schnell, C. E., Napper, R. M. A., & Klintsova, A. Y. (2008). Neonatal one-day binge-like ethanol exposure results in the loss of neurons in the CA1/CA3 subfields of rat hippocampus. Proceedings of the Society for Neuroscience 38th Annual Meeting. SfN. Retrieved from http://www.abstractsonline.com/plan/AdvancedSearch.aspx

Napper, R. M. A., Shoemack, P., Parker, S., Schnell, C. E., & Klintsova, A. Y. (2008). What does it mean to have a permanent deficit of hippocampal CA1 cells following a single binge exposure to ethanol during development? An animal model study. In J. G. Anson (Ed.), Proceedings of the 26th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. 26, (pp. 32). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://psy.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/Abstracts/2008Abstracts.pdf

Smith, L. M., Napper, R. M., Thomas, J. D., & Clements, K. M. (2008). C-Fos expression is increased during ethanol withdrawal in an animal model of alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder. In J. G. Anson (Ed.), Proceedings of the 26th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. 26, (pp. 69). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://psy.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/Abstracts/2008Abstracts.pdf

Napper, R. M. A., Hurren, B., & Genge, M. (2007). Apoptopic cell death in the cingulate cortex ten hours after a single exposure to ethanol on postnatal day 7. In J. G. Anson (Ed.), Proceedings of the 25th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research. 25, (pp. 39). AWCBR. Retrieved from http://psy.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/Abstracts/2007Abstracts.pdf

Napper, R. M. A., & Klintsova, A. Y. (2007). A single binge ethanol exposure on postnatal day four does not produce deficits in spatial learning in adolescent rats. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 31(Suppl. 2), (pp. 103A). doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2007.00412.x

Napper, R., Easingwood, R., & McNaughton, A. (2006). On line microscopy: Use of the internet to deliver advanced microscopy to third year anatomy students. In R. Spronken-Smith (Ed.), Proceedings of the Spotlight on Teaching at Otago Conference. (pp. 22). Dunedin, New Zealand: HEDC, University of Otago. [Abstract]

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Conference Contribution - Edited volume of conference proceedings

Napper, R. (Ed.). (2009). Proceedings of the 27th International Australasian Winter Conference on Brain Research, 27. AWCBR. 73p. Retrieved from http://psy.otago.ac.nz/awcbr/Abstracts/Abstracts2009.htm

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Conference Contribution - Poster Presentation (not in published proceedings)

Li, Y., Napper, R. M. A., & Duxson, M. J. (2006, September). Long-term effects in the neocortex following early prenatal ethanol exposure. Poster session presented at the International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism World Congress, Sydney, Australia.

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Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

Napper, R. (2008, June). A single alcohol binge during pregnancy: What animal model studies are telling us. Verbal presentation at the Brain Health and Repair Research Centre 2nd Annual Conference, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Napper, R. M. (2006, September). A single binge exposure to alcohol in the developing brain: What are the consequences? Verbal presentation at the International Society for Biomedical Research on Alcoholism World Congress, Sydney, Australia.

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