Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) dynamic changes were investigated in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and nucleus accumbens (NAc) during use and the early phases of cocaine abstinence after 14 sessions (2 h self-administration/d; 0.25 mg/0.1 ml.6 s infusion) by employing a 'yoked control-operant paradigm'. The effect on BDNF was region-specific and dependent on the withdrawal time. In the NAc, BDNF protein levels increased immediately after the last self-administration session, with a larger increase in passively cocaine-exposed rats. In the mPFC, BDNF expression was elevated 24 h after the last self-administration session, independently of how the drug was encountered. No changes were found in NAc and mPFC 7 d after the last self-administration session. Analysis of transcript levels in the mPFC indicated that action on exon I might contribute to BDNF's cortical induction. These findings indicate a finely tuned modulation of BDNF expression during use and early phases of cocaine abstinence.
Chronic self-administration of nicotine induces maladaptive changes in the cortico-accumbal glutamate (Glu) network. Consequently, re-exposure to nicotine-associated cues raises extracellular Glu in the nucleus accumbens reinstating drug-seeking. Restoring basal concentrations of extracellular Glu, thereby increasing tonic activation of the presynaptic group II metabotropic Glu receptors (mGluR2/3) with N-acetylcysteine (N-AC), might offer a valid therapeutic approach for maintaining smoking abstinence. Although N-AC modulates nicotine-seeking behavior by drug-associated stimuli in abstinent rats, it is still unclear whether it occurs through activation of mGluR2/3. Male Wistar rats were trained to associate discriminative stimuli (S s) with the availability of intravenous nicotine (0.03 mg/kg/65 µl/2-second/infusion) or oral saccharin (100 µl of 50 mg/l) self-administration versus non-reward. Reinforced response was followed by a cue signaling 20-second time-out (CSs). Once the training criterion was met, rats underwent lever press extinction, without reinforcers, S s and CSs. Re-exposure to nicotine or saccharin S /CS , but not non-reward S /CS , revived responding on the previously reinforced lever. Acute N-AC, 100 but not 60 or 30 mg/kg i.p., reduced cue-induced nicotine-seeking. N-AC 100 mg/kg did not modify cue-induced saccharin-seeking behavior or influenced locomotor activity. Blocking mGluR2/3 with the selective antagonist LY341495, 1 mg/kg i.p., completely prevented the antirelapse activity of N-AC. The finding that N-AC prevents cue-induced nicotine-seeking by stimulating mGluR2/3 might indicate a therapeutic opportunity for acute cue-controlled nicotine-seeking. Future studies could evaluate the persistent effects of chronic N-AC in promoting enduring suppression of nicotine-cue conditioned responding.
Background: While supportive treatment for traumatic brain injury (TBI) has progressed, specific neuroprotective interventions are still lacking. Models of ischaemic heart and brain injury show a therapeutic potential for Argon gas, but it is still not known whether inhaled Argon (iAr) is protective in TBI. We tested the effects of iAr administered acutely to TBI mice on brain oedema, tissue microenvironmental changes, neurological functions and structural outcome.Methods: Anaesthetized adult C57BL/6J mice were subjected to severe TBI by controlled cortical impact. Ten minutes after TBI, mice were randomized to 24h treatment with iAr 70%-O2 30% or air (iCtr). Sensorimotor deficits were evaluated up to six weeks post-TBI by three independent tests.Cognitive function was evaluated by Barnes maze test at four weeks. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was done to examine brain oedema at three days and white matter damages at five weeks.Microglia/macrophage activation and functional commitment was evaluated at one week after TBI by immunohistochemistry.Results: iAr significantly accelerated sensorimotor recovery and improved cognitive deficits one month after TBI, with less white matter damage in the ipsilateral fimbria and body of the corpus callosum. Early changes underpinning protection included a reduction of pericontusional vasogenic oedema and action on the inflammatory response. iAr significantly reduced microglial activation with increases in ramified cells and the M2-like marker YM1. Conclusion: iAr accelerates recovery of sensorimotor function and improves cognitive and structural outcome one-month after severe TBI in mice. Early effects include a reduction of brain oedema and neuroinflammation in the contused tissue.
Pharmacological stimulation of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDAr) could enhance the outcome of cue-exposure therapy for smoking cessation. NMDAr stimulation can be achieved by increasing pharmacologically the synaptic levels of glycine, a necessary co-agonist. Here, we evaluate the effects of SSR504734, a selective inhibitor of glycine type I transporter (GlyT1) in an extinction-reinstatement procedure inducing robust and lasting nicotine-seeking behavior in rats. Male Wistar rats were trained to associate discriminative stimuli (S(D)s) with the availability of nicotine (0.03 mg/kg/65 μL/2 second/infusion) or sucrose (45-mg pellet) versus non-reward in two-lever operant cages. Reinforced response was followed by cue signaling 20-second time-out (CSs). Once the training criterion was met, rats underwent extinction of lever presses, in the absence of reinforcers, S(D) s and CSs. Re-exposure to nicotine or sucrose S(D+)/CS(+), but not non-reward S(D-)/CS(-), revived responding at the previously reinforced lever. Acute pre-treatment with SSR504734 (10 mg/kg i.p.) reduced nicotine-seeking but not sucrose-seeking behavior without influencing rats' locomotor activity. Sub-chronic treatment (10 mg/kg i.p. for 5 days) during daily exposure to S(D+)/CS(+) reduced nicotine-seeking; however, this effect was transient, with return to S(D+)/CS(+) responding at 72 hours. Full recovery to S(D+)/CS(+) responding was observed after 1 month suggesting that SSR504734 sub-acute treatment did not engage the long-term plasticity mechanisms probably involved in nicotine-seeking. In conclusion, GlyT1-inhibitors might offer a therapeutic opportunity for acute cue-controlled nicotine-seeking, but the lack of persistent effects of the sub-chronic treatment associated with nicotine cues exposure suggests that short-term administration of GlyT1-inhibitor SSR504734 is not sufficient to promote extinction of nicotine-cue conditioned responding.
para-Methyl-4-methylaminorex (4,49-DMAR) is a phenethylamine derivative with psychostimulant activity whose abuse has been associated with several deaths and a wide range of adverse effects. We recently validated a high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method to measure the compound's concentrations in plasma, and we applied it to describe the pharmacokinetic properties of 4,49-DMAR after a single dose in rats. In this study, we investigated the brain disposition and metabolism of cis-4,49-DMAR after intraperitoneal injection as well as its central behavioral effects. Locomotor activity increased after a single injection of 10 mg/kg, peaking at 2 hours and disappearing at 5 hours; in these conditions, brain absorption was very rapid, (t max 5 30-60 minutes) and large (brain-to-plasma ratio 5 24); the half-life was approximately 50 minutes. After 14 daily doses, the compound's effect on locomotor activity was greater (approximately 20% compared with the effect after the first dose), but not for pharmacokinetic reasons. Using high-resolution mass spectrometry, we also identified four metabolites of cis-4,49-DMAR in the plasma and brain of treated rats. Semiquantitative analysis indicated low brain permeability and very low brain concentrations, suggesting that these metabolites do not contribute to central behavioral effects; however, the metabolite originating from oxidation of the paramethyl group (M2) persisted in the plasma longer and at higher concentrations than the parent molecule and could be used to evaluate drug intake in human consumers. Finally, we describe the rewarding effect of cis-4,49-DMAR in the conditioning place preference test, suggesting a high risk of addiction in humans.
Increases in alpha calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase type II (αCaMKII) activity in the nucleus accumbens shell has been proposed as a core component in the motivation to self-administer cocaine and in priming-induced drug-seeking. Since cocaine withdrawal promotes drug-seeking, we hypothesized that abstinence from cocaine self-administration should enhance αCaMKII as well. We found that short-term abstinence from contingent, but not non-contingent, cocaine i.v. self-administration (2 h/d for 14 d; 0.25 mg/0.1 ml, 6 s infusion) elevates αCaMKII autophosphorylation, but not the kinase expression, in a dynamic, time- and brain region-dependent manner. Increased αCaMKII autophosphorylation in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), but not dorsolateral striatum (dlS), was found 24 h, but not immediately, after the last cocaine self-administration session. Notably, in the mPFC, but not NAc and dlS, αCaMKII autophosphorylation was still enhanced 7 d later. The persistent enhancement in the mPFC of abstinent rats may represent a previously unappreciated contribution to initial incubation of cocaine-seeking.
Together with the ASN depletion in serum and CSF, a never before demonstrated transient penetration of ASNases into the CSF, more evident for non-pegylated formulations, was detected when the ASNases were administered at high dose.
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