We have previously shown that ceftriaxone, β-lactam antibiotic known to upregulate glutamate transporter 1 (GLT1), reduced ethanol intake in alcohol-preferring (P) rats. GLT1 is a glial glutamate transporter that regulates the majority of extracellular glutamate uptake. We tested in this study the effects of neuroimmunophilin GPI-1046 (3-(3-pyridyl)-1-propyl (2S)-1-(3,3-dimethyl-1,2-dioxopentyl)-2-pyrrolidinecarboxylate), known also to upregulate GLT1 expression, in ethanol intake in P rats. Male P rats had concurrent access to free choice of 15% and 30% ethanol, water, and food for five weeks. On Week 6, P rats continued in this drinking and food regimen and they were administered either 10 or 20 mg/kg GPI-1046 (i.p.), or a vehicle for five consecutive days. Body weight, ethanol intake, and water consumption were measured daily for 8 days starting on Day 1 of GPI-1046 or vehicle i.p. injections. We have also tested the effect of GPI-1046 (20 mg/kg) on daily sucrose (10%) intake. The data revealed significant dose-dependent effects in the reduction of ethanol intake starting 48 h after the first treatment with GPI-1046 throughout treatment and post-treatment periods. There were also dose-dependent increases in water intake. However, GPI-1046 treatment did not affect the body weight of all animals nor sucrose intake. Importantly, GPI-1046 (20 mg/kg) increased GLT1 level compared to all groups in nucleus accumbens core (NAc-core). Alternatively, GPI-1046 (10 mg/kg) upregulated GLT1 level in NAc-core compared to vehicle (ethanol naïve) group. Moreover, both doses of GPI-1046 increased significantly GLT1 level in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) compared to ethanol naïve vehicle group. GPI-1046 (20 mg/kg) increased GLT1 level in PFC compared to naïve control group that was exposed to water and food only. These findings demonstrated that neuroimmunophilin GPI-1046 attenuates ethanol intake in part through the upregulation of GLT1 in PFC and NAc-core.
GLT1; EAAT2; glutamate; alcohol dependence; GPI-1046; neuroimmunophilin
Relapse to cocaine-seeking behavior depends on increased glutamate transmission in key regions of the mesocorticolimbic motive circuit, including prefrontal cortex (PFC) and nucleus accumbens (NAcc). Because GLT1 is responsible for the uptake of ≥90% of extracellular glutamate, we tested the hypothesis that increased GLT1 expression attenuates cocaine relapse. Rats were trained to self-administer cocaine (0.125 mg per iv infusion) in a lever-pressing task in a daily two-hour session for 10–14 days followed by five days of extinction training. Immediately after each extinction session, rats received ceftriaxone (ip), a β-lactam antibiotic believed to increase GLT1 expression, or vehicle. On the following day, presentation of the cue (light and tone) previously associated with cocaine self-administration reinstated lever-pressing in rats treated with vehicle, whereas 100 or 200, but not 50 mg/kg ceftriaxone blocked this response. Immunoblotting confirmed that the ceftriaxone-induced blockade of cocaine relapse was associated with an increase in GLT1 expression in both PFC and NAcc. In separate groups of rats, 200 mg/kg ceftriaxone failed to block cue-induced food seeking, arguing against a ceftriaxone-induced effect unique to extinction training or lever pressing. Our results suggest that glutamate plays a key role in cue-induced relapse to cocaine-seeking behavior, implicating GLT1 as a potential therapeutic target for cocaine addiction.
ceftriaxone; cocaine; GLT1; glutamate; prefrontal cortex; nucleus accumbens
Glutamate transporter subtype 1 (GLT-1) activation is a promising – and understudied - approach for managing aspects of morphine tolerance caused by increased glutamatergic transmission. Identification of beta-lactam antibiotics as pharmaceuticals which activate GLT-1 transporters prompted us to hypothesize that repeated beta-lactam antibiotic (ceftriaxone) administration blocks development of tolerance to morphine antinociception through GLT-1 activation. Here, we injected rats with morphine (10 mg/kg, s.c.) twice daily for 7 days to induce tolerance and used the hot-plate assay to determine antinociception on days 1, 4 and 7 of repeated morphine administration. Ceftriaxone and a selective GLT-1 transporter inhibitor dihydrokainate (DHK) were co-administered with morphine to determine if GLT-1 activation mediated the ceftriaxone effect. Tolerance was present on days 4 and 7 of repeated morphine administration. Ceftriaxone (50, 100 or 200 mg/kg, i.p.) administration dose-dependently blocked development of morphine tolerance. DHK (10 mg/kg, s.c.), administered 15 min before each morphine injection, prevented inhibition of morphine tolerance by ceftriaxone (200 mg/kg, i.p.). These results identify an interaction between ceftriaxone and morphine in opioid-tolerant rats and suggest beta-lactam antibiotics preserve analgesic efficacy during chronic morphine exposure.
beta-lactam antibiotic; GLT-1; ceftriaxone; glutamate; morphine; opioid; tolerance
Emerging evidence indicates that many aspects of alcohol and drug dependence involve changes in glutamate transmission. A number of studies have reported that drugs of abuse, including alcohol and cocaine, alter glutamate transport. Extracellular glutamate is regulated by a number of glutamate transporters in various brain regions. Of these transporters, glutamate transporter (GLT1) is a key player in the removal of most of the extracellular glutamate. Similar to neurodegenerative disease models, in which there is dysfunction of the glutamatergic excitatory system, the role of GLT1 has been tested in drug dependence models that show dysfunction of glutamate transmission. We and others have recently found that ceftriaxone, an FDA-approved drug known to elevate GLT1 expression, attenuates cue-induced cocaine relapse. Moreover, we recently found that alcohol-preferring rats treated with ceftriaxone showed a significant dose-dependent reduction in alcohol consumption. We also demonstrated that ceftriaxone-induced upregulation of GLT1 expression was associated with increases in glutamate uptake in Huntington’s disease mouse model. Importantly, ceftriaxone is currently in clinical trials for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This review provides information about the potential therapeutic role of GLT1 for the treatment of alcohol abuse and dependence.
GLT1; EAAT2; glutamate; alcohol dependence; alcohol addiction; cocaine; GLAST; EAAT1; glutamate transporters; alcohol-preferring rats; glutamate uptake; cystine-glutamate exchanger; basal extracellular glutamate; nucleus accumbens; prefrontal cortex
We investigated the short- and long-term effects of ceftriaxone on GLT-1 transporter activity and extracellular glutamate in the rat nucleus accumbens. Repeated ceftriaxone administration (50, 100 or 200 mg/kg, i.p.) produced a dose-dependent reduction in glutamate levels that persisted for 20 days following discontinuation of drug exposure. The ceftriaxone effect was prevented bythe GLT-1 transporter inhibitor dihydrokainate (DHK) (1 μM, intra-accumbal). These results suggest β-lactam antibiotics produce an enduring reduction in glutamatergic transmission in the brain reward center.
ceftriaxone; glutamate; nucleus accumbens; β-lactam antibiotic; microdialysis; GLT-1
Analgesic tolerance is partially mediated by enhanced glutamatergic transmission in the CNS. Beta lactam antibiotics, through glutamate transporter subtype 1 (GLT-1) activation, reduce extracellular glutamate levels and attenuate tolerance to morphine analgesia in rats. Like opioids, nicotine has potent analgesic properties that are subject to tolerance. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of ceftriaxone (CTX), a beta lactam antibiotic and GLT-1 activator on nicotine antinociception and its tolerance. Rats were pre-treated for five days with CTX (200 mg/kg, ip) prior to evaluating their analgesic response to nicotine (1.0 or 2.5 mg/kg sc) for seven consecutive days using the tail flick assay. CTX-treated rats displayed an enhanced antinociceptive response to nicotine and unlike saline injected controls, did not develop tolerance to nicotine’s analgesic effects. These results suggest that GLT-1 transporter activation enhances and preserves nicotine antinociception and identify beta lactam antibiotics as potential complementary therapeutic agents for the treatment of chronic pain.
nicotine; analgesia; glutamate; GLT-1; tolerance; beta lactam
Ceftriaxone is a beta-lactam antibiotic which has been found to increase the expression and function of the major glutamate transporter, GLT-1. It has previously been shown that GLT-1 expression is decreased in the nucleus accumbens following cocaine self-administration and extinction training; ceftriaxone given in the days immediately prior to reinstatement testing attenuates both cue- and cocaine-primed reinstatement. Here we tested the ability of ceftriaxone pre-treatment (for 5 days prior to the first cocaine exposure) to prevent the induction of cocaine sensitization and the acquisition of cocaine self-administration. We also tested whether ceftriaxone administered only during self-administration attenuates the reinstatement of extinguished cocaine-seeking. We found that ceftriaxone did not affect the acquisition of cocaine self-administration but was able to attenuate reinstatement weeks after ceftriaxone administration ceased. This attenuation in reinstatement was accompanied by a restoration of GLT-1 expression in the nucleus accumbens. Ceftriaxone also attenuated locomotor behavior following the first cocaine injection and prevented the induction of cocaine but not caffeine sensitization. While ceftriaxone-treated animals did not sensitize to caffeine, they displayed reduced caffeine-induced locomotion following repeated caffeine treatment, indicating a possible dopaminergic effect of ceftriaxone. Taken together, these results indicate that ceftriaxone produces enduring changes in glutamate homeostasis in the nucleus accumbens which counteract addiction-related behaviors.
The β-lactam antibiotic and glutamate transporter subtype 1 (GLT-1) activator ceftriaxone prevents relapse to cocaine-seeking and inhibits morphine-induced physical dependence and tolerance in rats, but its efficacy against amphetamine-induced behaviors is unknown.
Here, we tested the hypothesis that ceftriaxone (200 mg/kg, i.p.) inhibits hyperactivity produced by acute amphetamine administration (2 mg/kg, i.p.) and sensitization of hyperactivity induced by repeated amphetamine exposure (2 mg/kg, i.p.). For acute experiments, rats treated with ceftriaxone for 5 days were injected with amphetamine or saline on day 6.
Amphetamine elicited less ambulatory and stereotypical activity in ceftriaxone-treated rats than in ceftriaxone-naïve rats. For chronic experiments, rats injected with ceftriaxone or saline for 8 days were also injected with amphetamine or saline on days 6–8 and then challenged with amphetamine 5 days later. Amphetamine produced greater ambulatory and stereotypical activity in amphetamine-pretreated rats than in rats previously naïve to amphetamine. Amphetamine challenge produced less ambulatory and stereotypical activity in rats pretreated with a combination of ceftriaxone (200 mg/kg) and amphetamine than in rats pretreated with only amphetamine.
The present demonstration that ceftriaxone attenuates amphetamine-induced hyperactivity and behavioral sensitization suggests its documented efficacy against adverse cocaine and morphine effects extends to amphetamine.
amphetamine; β-lactam antibiotic; GLT-1; ceftriaxone; glutamate; sensitization; addiction
No medication is approved to treat cocaine addiction, but mounting evidence suggests glutamate-directed approaches may reduce cocaine dependence and relapse. We tested the hypotheses that the glutamate transporter subtype 1 (GLT-1) activator ceftriaxone disrupts acquisition of cocaine self-administration, motivation to self-administer cocaine, and conditioned place preference in mice. Repeated ceftriaxone (200 mg/kg) reduced the ability of mice to acquire cocaine and the motivation to self-administer cocaine following successful acquisition without affecting acquisition of or motivation for sweet food. Repeated ceftriaxone had no effect on cocaine-conditioned place preference. These results suggest that a β-lactam antibiotic reduces the direct reinforcing strength of cocaine without producing non-specific deficits in conditioned learning processes.
cocaine; glutamate; GLT-1; ceftriaxone; self-administration; place preference; β-lactam; addiction; mouse
The striatum, which processes cortical information for behavioral output, is a key target of Huntington's disease (HD), an autosomal dominant condition characterized by cognitive decline and progressive loss of motor control. Increasing evidence implicates deficient glutamate uptake caused by a down-regulation of GLT1, the primary astroglial glutamate transporter. To test this hypothesis, we administered ceftriaxone, a β-lactam antibiotic known to elevate GLT1 expression (200 mg/kg, ip, for 5 days), to symptomatic R6/2 mice, a widely studied transgenic model of HD. Relative to vehicle, ceftriaxone attenuated several HD behavioral signs: paw clasping and twitching were reduced, while motor flexibility, as measured in a plus maze, and open-field climbing were increased. Assessment of GLT1 expression in striatum confirmed a ceftriaxone-induced increase relative to vehicle. To determine if the change in behavior and GLT1 expression represented a change in striatal glutamate handling, separate groups of behaving mice were evaluated with no-net-flux microdialysis. Vehicle treatment revealed a glutamate uptake deficit in R6/2 mice relative to wild-type controls that was reversed by ceftriaxone. Vehicle-treated animals, however, did not differ in GLT1 expression, suggesting that the glutamate uptake deficit in R6/2 mice reflects dysfunctional rather than missing GLT1. Our results indicate that impaired glutamate uptake is a major factor underlying HD pathophysiology and symptomology. The glutamate uptake deficit, moreover, is present in symptomatic HD mice and reversal of this deficit by up-regulating the functional expression of GLT1 with ceftriaxone attenuates the HD phenotype.
Huntington's disease; ceftriaxone; R6/2; striatum; microdialysis; glutamate
Glutamate neurotransmission is highly regulated, largely by glutamate transporters. In the spinal cord, the glutamate transporter GLT-1 is primarily responsible for glutamate clearance. Downregulation of GLT-1 can occur in activated astrocytes, and is associated with increased extracellular glutamate and neuroexcitation. Among other conditions, astrocyte activation occurs following repeated opioids and in models of chronic pain. If GLT-1 downregulation occurs in these states, GLT-1 could be a pharmacological target for improving opioid efficacy and controlling chronic pain. The present studies explored whether daily intrathecal treatment of rats with ceftriaxone, a β-lactam antibiotic that upregulates GLT-1 expression, could prevent development of hyperalgesia and allodynia following repeated morphine, reverse pain arising from central or peripheral neuropathy, and reduce glial activation in these models. Ceftriaxone pre-treatment attenuated the development of hyperalgesia and allodynia in response to repeated morphine, and prevented associated astrocyte activation. In a model of multiple sclerosis (experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; EAE), ceftriaxone reversed tactile allodynia and halted the progression of motor weakness and paralysis. Similarly, ceftriaxone reversed tactile allodynia induced by chronic constriction nerve injury (CCI). EAE and CCI each significantly reduced the expression of membrane-bound, dimerized GLT-1 protein in lumbar spinal cord, an effect normalized by ceftriaxone. Lastly, ceftriaxone normalized CCI- and EAE-induced astrocyte activation in lumbar spinal cord. Together, these data indicate that increasing spinal GLT-1 expression attenuates opioid-induced paradoxical pain, alleviates neuropathic pain, and suppresses associated glial activation. GLT-1 therefore may be a therapeutic target that could improve available treatment options for patients with chronic pain.
opioid; spinal cord; multiple sclerosis; astrocyte; allodynia; hyperalgesia
Homer proteins are constituents of scaffolding complexes that regulate the trafficking and function of central Group1 metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) and N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. Research supports the involvement of these proteins in ethanol-induced neuroplasticity in mouse. In this study, we examined the effects of short versus long-term withdrawal from chronic ethanol consumption on Homer and glutamate receptor protein expression within striatal and amygdala subregions of selectively bred, alcohol-preferring P rats.
For 6 months, male P rats had concurrent access to 15% and 30% ethanol solutions under intermittent (IA: 4 d/wk) or continuous (CA: 7 d/wk) access conditions in their home cage. Rats were killed 24 hours (short withdrawal: SW) or 4 weeks (long withdrawal: LW) after termination of ethanol access, subregions of interest were micropunched and tissue processed for detection of Group1 mGluRs, NR2 subunits of the NMDA receptor and Homer protein expression.
Within the nucleus accumbens (NAC), limited changes in NR2a and NR2b expression were detected in the shell (NACsh), whereas substantial changes were observed for Homer2a/b, mGluRs as well as NR2a and NR2b subunits in the core (NACc). Within the amygdala, no changes were detected in the basolateral subregion, whereas substantial changes, many paralleling those observed in the NACc, were detected in the central nucleus (CeA) subregion. In addition, most of the changes observed in the CeA, but not NACc, were present in both SW and LW rats.
Overall, these subregion specific, ethanol-induced increases in mGluR/Homer2/NR2 expression within the NAC and amygdala suggest changes in glutamatergic plasticity had taken place. This may be a result of learning and subsequent memory formation of ethanol’s rewarding effects in these brain structures, which may, in part, mediate the chronic relapsing nature of alcohol abuse.
Homer Proteins; Group1 Metabotropic Glutamate Receptors; NMDA Receptors; Nucleus Accumbens; Amygdala; Ethanol Consumption
The main glutamate transporter GLT-1 is responsible for clearing synaptically released glutamate from the extracellular space and contributes to the shaping of glutamatergic transmission. Recently, it has been shown that ceftriaxone (CEF)-induced GLT-1 upregulation is associated with an impairment of the prepulse inhibition (PPI) of the startle reflex, a simple form of information processing that is reduced in schizophrenia, and determines a strong reduction in hippocampal metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR)2/3-dependent long-term depression. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that administration of the mGluR2/3 agonist LY379268 blocks the effect of GLT-1 upregulation on PPI of the startle. We showed that administration of LY379268 (1 mg/kg) prevented PPI alterations associated with GLT-1 upregulation, suggesting that CEF-induced PPI impairment was mGluR2/3 dependent. In addition, we showed that CEF-induced GLT-1 upregulaton did not alter the expression of mGluR2/3, and also that it occurred at sites of mGluR2/3 expression. These results indicate a novel mechanism by which GLT-1 upregulation modulates PPI of the startle.
glutamate transporters; GLT-1; metabotropic glutamate receptors; prepulse inhibition; Glutamate; Neurochemistry; Schizophrenia/Antipsychotics; Transporters; glutamate transporters; GLT-1; MEtabotropic glutamate receptors; Prepulse inhibition of the startle reflex
In outbred rats, increases in brain neuropeptide Y (NPY) activity suppress ethanol consumption in a variety of access conditions, but only following a history of ethanol dependence. NPY reliably suppresses ethanol drinking in alcohol-preferring (P) rats and this effect is augmented following a period of ethanol abstinence. The purpose of this experiment was to examine the effects of NPY on 2-bottle choice ethanol drinking and feeding in Wistar rats that had undergone chronic ethanol vapor exposure, cycles of ethanol abstinence, or both. Ethanol-drinking Wistars were given six weeks of access to 15% (v/v) ethanol and water followed by either: two cycles of one week ethanol vapor exposure and two weeks with no ethanol; two cycles of one week ethanol bottle availability and two weeks with no ethanol; or two weeks of ethanol vapor exposure. Rats were infused ICV with one of four NPY doses (0.0, 2.5, 5.0, or 10.0 µg) following the ethanol exposure patterns described above, and tested for ethanol drinking and feeding in a 2-bottle choice situation. NPY dose-dependently increased food intake regardless of ethanol exposure history, but suppressed ethanol drinking only in rats that underwent cycles of ethanol access and ethanol abstinence. These results support the notion that dysregulation of brain NPY systems during chronic intermittent ethanol exposure is important in the motivational drive for subsequent relapse to ethanol drinking.
Neuropeptide Y; Dependence; Ethanol Vapor; Ethanol Abstinence
The glutamate transporter GLT-1 is responsible for the largest proportion of total glutamate transport. Recently, it has been demonstrated that ceftriaxone (CEF) robustly increases GLT-1 expression. In addition, physiological studies have shown that GLT-1 up-regulation strongly affects synaptic plasticity, and leads to an impairment of the prepulse inhibition, a simple form of information processing, thus suggesting that GLT-1 over-expression may lead to dysfunctions of large populations of neurons. To test this possibility, we assessed whether CEF affects cortical electrical activity by using chronic electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings in male WKY rats. Spectral analysis showed that 8 days of CEF treatment resulted in a delayed reduction in EEG theta power (7–9 Hz) in both frontal and parietal derivations. This decrease peaked at day 10, i.e., 2 days after the end of treatment, and disappeared by day 16. In addition, we found that the same CEF treatment increased motor activity, especially when EEG changes are more prominent. Taken together, these data indicate that GLT-1 up-regulation, by modulating glutamatergic transmission, impairs the activity of widespread neural circuits. In addition, the increased motor activity and prepulse inhibition alterations previously described suggest that neural circuits involved in sensorimotor control are particularly sensitive to GLT-1 up-regulation.
Growing evidence supports a role of metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) in ethanol reinforcement, ethanol-seeking, and ethanol withdrawal. To extend the understanding of the role of mGluRs in the addiction-relevant effects of ethanol as well as of the treatment target potential of these receptors for alcohol abuse, the effects of a selective mGlu2/3 agonist (LY379268) and a selective mGlu5 antagonist (MTEP) were tested on two processes central to alcohol addiction: ethanol reinforcement and stress-induced reinstatement of ethanol-seeking in rats with a history of ethanol dependence.
Following operant ethanol self-administration training, male Wistar rats were made dependent by intragastric ethanol intubations. Ethanol dependence was confirmed by the presence of somatic withdrawal signs. Following 2 weeks of withdrawal, stable ethanol self-administration was re-established, and the effects of LY379268 (0-3 mg/kg, SC) and MTEP (0-3 mg/kg, IP) on ethanol self-administration were determined in both non-dependent and post-dependent rats. A second set of rats underwent extinction training and then was tested for the effects of LY379268 or MTEP on reinstatement of ethanol-seeking induced by footshock stress.
LY379268 and MTEP dose-dependently reduced both ethanol self-administration and reinstatement of ethanol-seeking induced by footshock stress. Additionally, LY379268 was more effective than MTEP in inhibiting both behaviors in post-dependent than in non-dependent animals.
These findings suggest that neuroadaptation associated with chronic ethanol exposure or withdrawal alters the sensitivity of mGlu2/3 receptors, with implications for the understanding of the neural basis of alcohol dependence and the treatment target potential of these receptors.
ethanol dependence; LY379268; MTEP; metabotropic glutamate receptor; self-administration; relapse
Huntington's disease (HD) is an inherited neurodegenerative disorder characterized by cortico-striatal dysfunction and loss of glutamate uptake. At 7 weeks of age, R6/2 mice, which model an aggressive form of juvenile HD, show a glutamate-uptake deficit in striatum that can be reversed by treatment with ceftriaxone, a β-lactam antibiotic that increases GLT1 expression. Only at advanced ages (> 11 weeks), however, do R6/2 mice show an actual loss of striatal GLT1. Here, we tested whether ceftriaxone can reverse the decline in GLT1 expression that occurs in older R6/2s.
Western blots were used to assess GLT1 expression in both striatum and cerebral cortex in R6/2 and corresponding wild-type (WT) mice at 9 and 13 weeks of age. Mice were euthanized for immunoblotting 24 hr after five consecutive days of once daily injections (ip) of ceftriaxone (200 mg/kg) or saline vehicle. Despite a significant GLT1 reduction in saline-treated R6/2 mice relative to WT at 13, but not 9, weeks of age, ceftriaxone treatment increased cortical and striatal GLT1 expression relative to saline in all tested mice.
The ability of ceftriaxone to up-regulate GLT1 in R6/2 mice at an age when GLT1 expression is significantly reduced suggests that the mechanism for increasing GLT1 expression is still functional. Thus, ceftriaxone could be effective in modulating glutamate transmission even in late-stage HD.
The cellular mechanisms underlying alcohol addiction are poorly understood. In several brain areas, ethanol depresses glutamatergic excitatory transmission, but how it affects excitatory synapses on dopamine neurons of the ventral tegmental area (VTA), a crucial site for the development of drug addiction, is not known. We report here that in midbrain slices from rats, clinically relevant concentrations of ethanol (10–80 mM) increase the amplitude of evoked EPSCs and reduce their paired-pulse ratio in dopamine neurons in the VTA. The EPSCs were mediated by glutamate α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA) receptors. In addition, ethanol increases the frequency but not the amplitude of spontaneous EPSCs. Furthermore, ethanol increases extracellular glutamate levels in the VTA of midbrain slices. The effects of ethanol are mimicked by SKF 38393, a dopamine D1 receptor agonist, and by GBR 12935, a dopamine reuptake inhibitor, and they are blocked by SKF 83566, a D1 antagonist, or by reserpine, which depletes dopamine stores. The enhancement of sEPSC frequency reaches a peak with 40mM ethanol and declines with concentrations ≥80mM ethanol, which is quite likely a result of D2 receptor activation as raclopride, a D2 receptor blocker, significantly enhanced 80mM ethanol-induced enhancement of sEPSCs. Finally, 6, 7-dinitroquinoxaline-2, 3-dione (DNQX), an AMPA receptor antagonist, attenuates ethanol-induced excitation of VTA DA neurons. We therefore conclude that, acting via presynaptic D1 receptors, ethanol at low concentrations increases glutamate release in the VTA, thus raising somatodendritic dopamine release, which further activates the presynaptic D1 receptors. Enhancement of this positive feedback loop may significantly contribute to the development of alcohol addiction.
mesolimbic system; addiction; alcohol; glutamate; D1 and D2 receptors; raclopride
The cystine-glutamate exchanger is down-regulated after chronic cocaine, resulting in reduced extracellular levels of nucleus accumbens glutamate. The importance of cocaine-induced loss of glutamate homeostasis is revealed by N-acetylcysteine restoring cystine-glutamate exchange and attenuating reinstatement to cocaine-seeking. Another regulator of extracellular glutamate is the glial glutamate transporter GLT-1. We hypothesized that cocaine self-administration reduces GLT-1, and that GLT-1 up-regulation inhibits cocaine-seeking.
We measured [3H] glutamate uptake and protein expression of GLT-1 and xCT, the catalytic subunit of the cystine-glutamate exchanger, following cocaine self-administration and 3 weeks of extinction training. We also examined the affect of ceftriaxone (previously shown to increase GLT-1) and N-acetylcysteine treatment on the expression of GLT-1 and xCT. Ceftriaxone was also tested for the capacity to inhibit cue- and cocaine-induced relapse.
Cocaine self-administration reduced glutamate uptake and the expression of both GLT-1 and xCT. Ceftriaxone restored GLT-1 and xCT levels and prevented cue- and cocaine-induced reinstatement of drug-seeking. NAC also restored GLT-1 and xCT levels.
These results indicate that glutamate transport and cystine-glutamate exchange may be co-regulated, and provide further evidence that targeting glutamate homeostasis is a potential method for treating cocaine relapse.
cocaine; accumbens; cystine-glutamate exchange; glutamate uptake; GLT-1; self-administration
Perinatal brain injury is the leading cause of subsequent neurological disability in both term and preterm baby. Glutamate excitotoxicity is one of the major factors involved in perinatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Glutamate transporter GLT1, expressed mainly in mature astrocytes, is the major glutamate transporter in the brain. HIE induced excessive glutamate release which is not reuptaked by immature astrocytes may induce neuronal damage. Compounds, such as ceftriaxone, that enhance the expression of GLT1 may exert neuroprotective effect in HIE.
We used a neonatal rat model of HIE by unilateral ligation of carotid artery and subsequent exposure to 8% oxygen for 2 hrs on postnatal day 7 (P7) rats. Neonatal rats were administered three dosages of an antibiotic, ceftriaxone, 48 hrs prior to experimental HIE. Neurobehavioral tests of treated rats were assessed. Brain sections from P14 rats were examined with Nissl and immunohistochemical stain, and TUNEL assay. GLT1 protein expression was evaluated by Western blot and immunohistochemistry.
Pre-treatment with 200 mg/kg ceftriaxone significantly reduced the brain injury scores and apoptotic cells in the hippocampus, restored myelination in the external capsule of P14 rats, and improved the hypoxia-ischemia induced learning and memory deficit of P23-24 rats. GLT1 expression was observed in the cortical neurons of ceftriaxone treated rats.
These results suggest that pre-treatment of infants at risk for HIE with ceftriaxone may reduce subsequent brain injury.
β-lactam antibiotics; ceftriaxone; hypoxic-ischemic injury; neonatal rat; GLT1; EAAT2
β-lactam antibiotics enhance cellular glutamate uptake. Because increased glutamatergic transmission is a primary mediator of opiate dependence, we tested the hypothesis that a β-lactam antibiotic (ceftriaxone) prevents development of morphine physical dependence in rats. Morphine (20 mg/kg) was injected twice daily for 10 days to induce physical dependence. Naloxone (10 mg/kg) administration 1, 48 and 96 h after the last morphine injection induced a withdrawal syndrome characterized by the appearance of wet-dog shakes, teeth chattering, eye blinking, jumping, and paw tremor. Ceftriaxone (150, 200 mg/kg) injected once daily during chronic morphine exposure inhibited each naloxone-precipitated withdrawal sign. Ceftriaxone efficacy persisted even after the 96 h naloxone (10 mg/kg) injection. These results suggest β-lactam antibiotics inhibit processes leading to development of morphine physical dependence.
β-lactam antibiotic; ceftriaxone; morphine; glutamate transporter; dependence; withdrawal; GLT-1; EAAT2, rat
Administration of neuropeptide Y (NPY) reduces anxiety-like behavior and alcohol intake in alcohol-preferring rats. The present experiment examined whether the effects of NPY on alcohol drinking are modulated by stress exposure during continuous access or following ethanol deprivation. Female P rats underwent 6 weeks of continuous access to 15% v/v ethanol and water prior to intracerebroventricular (ICV) cannula implantation. Deprived rats underwent two cycles of 5 days of ethanol exposure followed by 2 days of ethanol deprivation, while non-deprived rats had uninterrupted access to ethanol. Stressed rats in both ethanol access groups were exposed to restraint stress for 1 hour 4-6 hours after ethanol was removed from the deprived group in both cycles. ICV infusions of 5.0 μg NPY or aCSF were administered 48 hours following the deprivation/stress procedure, after which ethanol was returned. Rats showed increased ethanol intake following ethanol deprivation compared to non-deprived controls. Food and water intake were increased, while ethanol intake was decreased, in rats infused with NPY. Stress did not increase ethanol intake or alter the response to NPY. Although no stress effects were found, the present experiment replicates previous findings regarding the effectiveness of NPY in reducing ethanol consumption. Future studies aimed at determining the extent to which stress may affect relapse to ethanol drinking and response to NPY would benefit from implementing different stress paradigms and varying the pattern of ethanol access.
Neuropeptide Y; alcohol deprivation effect; stress; alcohol-preferring rats; ethanol consumption
Addiction has been considered a disorder of motivational control over behavior, and the ventral tegmental area (VTA), in conjunction with other limbic brain structures, is thought to play a critical role in the regulation of a number of motivated behaviors including seeking of addictive drugs such as alcohol. Of particular interest is the ability of prolonged exposure of addictive drugs to enhance the function of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA)-type glutamatergic receptors (AMPAR) in the VTA, as glutamate receptor activation can significantly regulate VTA neuron activity. Here, we examined whether voluntary ethanol intake altered VTA AMPAR function.
We utilized in vitro electrophysiology to examine glutamatergic function in the VTA neurons 12 to 24 hours after the last self-administration bout, which occurred 35 to 50 days after the initiation of ethanol self-administration under a 2-bottle intermittent access model.
Voluntary intermittent ethanol intake in a 2-bottle paradigm enhanced postsynaptic AMPAR function, indicated by an increased ratio of evoked AMPAR to N-methyl-d-aspartic acid receptor currents, and by an increase in the amplitude of spontaneous miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents (mEPSCs) measured in the presence of tetrodotoxin to prevent action potential-dependent release. In contrast, ethanol self-administration did not alter evoked presynaptic glutamate release, indicated by no change in the paired-pulse ratio of 2 AMPAR EPSCs evoked 50 ms apart, although spontaneous glutamate release was significantly enhanced, indicated by enhanced mEPSC frequency.
Our results suggest that postsynaptic AMPAR function in VTA neurons was significantly enhanced after ethanol self-administration. As increased VTA AMPAR function can significantly regulate firing and enhance the reinforcing and activating effects of drugs of abuse, the increased AMPAR activity observed here may facilitate the drive to consume ethanol.
Electrophysiology; Ventral Tegmental Area; Alcohol; α-Amino-3-Hydroxy-5-Methyl-4-Isoxazolepropionic Acid Receptors
The pathological effects of high alcohol (ethanol) consumption on gastrointestinal and hepatic systems are well recognized. However, the effects of ethanol intake on gastric and intestinal absorption and transport systems remain unclear. The present study investigates the effects of ethanol on the human peptide transporter 1 (hPepT1) which mediates the transport of di-and tripeptides as well as several orally administered peptidomimetic drugs such as β-lactam antibiotics (e.g., penicillin), angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, the anti-neoplastic agent bestatin, and prodrugs of acyclovir.
Xenopus oocytes were injected with hPepT1 cRNA and incubated for 3 to 10 days. Currents induced by glycyl-sarcosine (Gly-Sar), Ala-Ala (dipeptides), penicillin and enalapril measured in the presence or absence of ethanol were determined using an 8-channel 2-electrode voltage clamp system, with a membrane potential of –70 mV and 11 voltage steps of 100 milliseconds (from +50 mV to –150 mV in –20 mV increments).
Ethanol (200 mM) inhibited Gly-Sar and Ala-Ala currents by 42 and 30%, respectively, with IC50s of 184 and 371 mM, respectively. Ethanol reduced maximal transport capacity (Imax) of hPepT1 for Gly-Sar without affecting Gly-Sar binding affinity (K0.5 and Hill coefficient). Penicillin- and enalapril-induced currents were significantly less than those induced by dipeptides and were not inhibited by ethanol.
Ethanol significantly reduced transport of dipeptides via a reduction in transport capacity, rather than competing for binding sites in hPepT1. Ethanol inhibition or alteration of transport function may be a primary causative factor contributing to both the nutritional deficits as well as the immunological deficiencies that many alcoholics experience including alcohol liver disease and brain damage.
hPepT1 Transporter; Ethanol Inhibition; Dipeptides; Penicillin; Enalapril
Decreased basal glutamate levels are observed in the rat nucleus accumbens (NA) core following cocaine self-administration. This disruption of glutamate homeostasis arises from a reduction in the export of glutamate via system xC- and is accompanied by a decrease in expression of xCT, the catalytic subunit of system xC-. A second hallmark of disrupted homeostasis is a decrease in expression and function of the major glutamate transporter, GLT-1. We have previously shown that chronic treatment with the antibiotic ceftriaxone restores xCT and GLT-1 expression following cocaine self-administration and attenuates both cue- and cocaine-primed reinstatement. Here we used a 3H-glutamate uptake assay and microdialysis to test the hypothesis that ceftriaxone restores the function of both GLT-1 and xCT (glutamate reuptake and export, respectively) in the NA core following cocaine self-administration. We also used electrophysiology to investigate the ability of ceftriaxone to normalize measures of synaptic plasticity following cocaine. We found that 5 days of ceftriaxone treatment following cocaine self-administration restores basal glutamate levels in the accumbens core, likely through an upregulation of system xC- function. We also found that ceftriaxone restores glutamate re-uptake and attenuates the increase in synaptically-released glutamate that accompanies cocaine-primed reinstatement. Ceftriaxone also reversed the cocaine-induced synaptic potentiation in the accumbens core, evidenced by normalized spontaneous EPSC amplitude and frequency and evoked EPSC amplitude. These data indicate that ceftriaxone normalizes multiple aspects of glutamate homeostasis following cocaine self-administration and thus holds the potential to reduce relapse in human cocaine addicts.
Cocaine; ceftriaxone; glutamate; nucleus accumbens; microdialysis; uptake; glutamate transporters