Previous research on the honeybee ethanol model established how acute ethanol exposure altered function at different levels of organization: behavior and learning, ecology, and physiology. The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether ethanol doses that affect honeybee behavior also induce a significant stress response, measured by heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) concentrations, in honeybee brain tissues. Experiment 1 examined how pretreatment handling influenced brain HSP70 concentrations in three pretreatment groups of bees; immediately after being collected, after being harnessed and fed, and after 22-24. h in a harness. HSP70 concentrations did not differ among pretreatment groups within replicates, although we observed significantly different HSP70 concentrations between the two replicates. Experiment 2 investigated the relationship between ethanol dose and brain HSP70 concentrations. Bees were placed in seven experimental groups, the three pretreatment groups as in Experiment 1 and four ethanol-fed groups. Bees in ethanol treatments were fed 1.5. M sucrose (control) and 1.5. M sucrose-ethanol solutions containing 2.5, 5, and 10% ethanol, allowed to sit for 4. h, and dissected brains were assayed for HSP70. We observed ethanol-induced increases in honeybee brain HSP70 concentrations from the control group through the 5% ethanol group. Only bees in the 5% ethanol group had HSP70 concentrations significantly higher than the control group. The inverted U-shaped ethanol dose-HSP70 concentration response curve indicated that ingestion of 2.5% ethanol and 5% ethanol stimulated the stress response, whereas ingestion of 10% ethanol inhibited the stress response. Doses that show maximum HSP70 concentration (5% ethanol) or HSP70 inhibition (10% ethanol) correspond to those (≥5% ethanol) that also impaired honeybees in previous studies. We conclude that acute ethanol intoxication by solutions containing ≥5% ethanol causes significant ethanol-induced stress in brain tissue that impairs honeybee behavior and associative learning. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.
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