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1.  Effects of Chronic Alcohol and Repeated Deprivations on Dopamine D1 and D2 Receptor Levels in the Extended Amygdala of Inbred Alcohol-Preferring Rats 
Background
Dopaminergic (DA) activity in the extended amygdala (EA) has been known to play a pivotal role in mediating drug and alcohol addiction. Alterations of DA activity within the EA after chronic exposure to alcohol or substances of abuse are considered a major mechanism for the development of alcoholism and addiction. To date, it is not clear how different patterns of chronic alcohol drinking affect DA receptor levels. Therefore, the current studies investigated the effects of chronic ethanol consumption, with or without deprivations, on D1 and D2 receptor densities within the EA.
Methods
Inbred alcohol-preferring (iP) rats were divided into 3 groups with the following treatments: (1) water for 14 weeks; (2) continuous alcohol (C-Alc) for 14 weeks [24-hour concurrent access to 15 and 30% (v/v) ethanol]; or (3) repeatedly deprived of alcohol (RD-Alc) (24-hour concurrent access to 15 and 30% ethanol for 6 weeks, followed by 2 cycles of 2 weeks of deprivation of and 2 weeks of reexposure to ethanol access). At the end of 14 weeks, the rats were killed for autoradiographic labeling of D1 and D2 receptors.
Results
Compared with the water control group, both the C-Alc and the RD-Alc groups displayed increases in D1 receptor binding density in the anterior region of the Acb core, whereas the RD-Alc group displayed additional increases in D1 receptor binding density in anterior regions of the lateral and intercalated nuclei of the amygdala. Additionally, both C-Alc and RD-Alc rats displayed increases in D2 receptor binding density in anterior regions of the Acb shell and core, whereas RDAlc rats displayed additional increases in D2 receptor binding density in the dorsal striatum.
Conclusion
The results of this study indicate that 14-week extended alcohol drinking with continuous chronic or repeated deprivations increase binding sites of D1 and D2 receptors in specific regions of the EA with greater sensitivity in the anterior regions. The repeated deprivation has greater effect on altering D1 and D2 receptor binding sites in the Acb, dorsal striatum, and subamygdala regions. The current result indicates that the two drinking paradigms may have common as well as differential mechanisms on alteration of dopamine receptor–binding sites in specific regions of the EA.
doi:10.1111/j.1530-0277.2006.00010.x
PMCID: PMC4287423  PMID: 16433731
Nucleus Accumbens; Receptor Autoradiography; SCH23390; Iodosulpiride; Neuroadaption
2.  Ceftriaxone treatment affects the levels of GLT1 and ENT1 as well as ethanol intake in alcohol-preferring rats 
Studies have demonstrated that deletion of equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (ENT1) is associated with reduced glutamate transporter 1 (GLT1) level, and consequently increased ethanol intake. In this study, we measured changes in GLT1 and ENT1 levels in prefrontal cortex (PFC), and nucleus accumbens (NAc) core and shell associated with alcohol drinking in alcohol-preferring (P) rats. We examined then whether ceftriaxone (CEF) would affect both GLT1 and ENT1 levels in these brain regions. P rats were given 24-hour concurrent access to 15% and 30% ethanol, water, and food for five weeks. On Week 6, P rats received 100 mg/kg CEF (i.p.) or a saline vehicle for five consecutive days. Ethanol intake was measured daily for 8 days starting on the first day of injections. We found a significant reduction in daily ethanol intake in CEF treated group, starting on day 2 of injections. Western blot for GLT1 and binding assay for ENT1 revealed downregulation of GLT1 level, whereas ENT1 levels were increased in the NAc core and NAc shell, respectively, but not in the PFC in saline vehicle group. Importantly, CEF treatment reversed these effects in both NAc core and shell. These findings provide evidence for potential regulatory effects of CEF on both GLT1 and ENT1 expression in reducing ethanol intake.
doi:10.1007/s12031-013-0064-y
PMCID: PMC3797852  PMID: 23893122
ENT1; GLT1; EAAT2; alcohol dependence; glutamate
3.  Effects of ceftriaxone on ethanol intake: a possible role for xCT and GLT-1 isoforms modulation of glutamate levels in P rats 
Psychopharmacology  2014;231(20):4049-4057.
Rationale
Evidence suggests that glutamate transporter 1 (GLT-1) and cystine/glutamate exchanger transporter (xCT) are critical in maintaining glutamate homeostasis. We have recently demonstrated that ceftriaxone treatment induced up-regulation of GLT1 levels and attenuated ethanol intake; however, less is known about the involvement of xCT on ethanol intake. In this study, we investigated the effects of ceftriaxone on the levels of xCT in both continuous and relapse-like ethanol drinking, as well as GLT-1 isoforms, and glutamate aspartate transporter (GLAST) in relapse-like ethanol intake.
Methods
P rats received free choice of 15 and 30 % ethanol and water for 5 weeks and then deprived of ethanol for 2 weeks. Rats were treated with ceftriaxone (100 mg/kg, i.p.) or saline during the last 5 days of the 2-week deprivation period. After deprivation period, P rats were re-exposed to free choice of 15 and 30 % ethanol and water for nine consecutive days. A second group of P rats was given continuous ethanol access for 5 weeks, then ceftriaxone (100 mg/kg, i.p.) or saline throughout the week 6.
Results
Ceftriaxone significantly attenuated relapse-like ethanol intake. Importantly, this effect of ceftriaxone was associated in part with upregulation of the levels of GLT-1a and GLT-1b isoforms and xCT in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the nucleus accumbens (NAc). There were no significant differences in GLAST expression among all groups. We also found that ceftriaxone treatment increased xCT levels in both PFC and NAc in continuous ethanol intake.
Conclusion
These findings suggest that xCT and GLT-1 isoforms might be target proteins for the treatment of alcohol dependence.
doi:10.1007/s00213-014-3545-y
PMCID: PMC4176549  PMID: 24687412
Relapse; Glutamate; Ethanol intake; GLT-1a; GLT-1b; xCT
4.  Therapeutic Perspectives of Drugs Targeting Toll-Like Receptors Based on Immune Physiopathology Theory of Alzheimer's Disease 
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease associated with the development of dementia. It has been established that the pathological hallmarks of neurofibrillary tau protein tangles and senile β-amyloid protein plaques lead to degeneration of neurons via inflammatory pathways. The progressive death of neurons, primarily cholinergic, results in a gradual and fatal decline of cognitive abilities and memory. By targeting these pathological hallmarks and their associated pathways, AD drug therapy can potentially attenuate the disease state. In this review article, we focus on newly proposed and experimental AD drug treatment. We discuss three characteristic areas of AD treatment: prevention of neurotoxic β-amyloid protein plaque formation, stability of neuronal tau proteins, and increase in neuronal growth and function. The primary drug therapy methods and patents discussed include the use of neurotrophic factors and targeting of the amyloid precursor protein cleavage pathway as prevention of β-amyloid formation and tau aggregation.
PMCID: PMC4137473  PMID: 25012616
Alzheimer's disease; β-amyloid; neurotrophic factors; colivelin
5.  Effects of ceftriaxone on the acquisition and maintenance of ethanol drinking in peri-adolescent and adult female alcohol-preferring (P) rats 
Neuroscience  2013;241:229-238.
Increased glutamatergic neurotransmission appears to mediate the reinforcing properties of drugs of abuse, including ethanol (EtOH). We recently reported that the administration of ceftriaxone (CEF), a β-lactam antibiotic known to upregulate glutamate transporter 1 (GLT1) levels/activity, decreased the maintenance of EtOH intake in adult male alcohol-preferring (P) rats. In the present study, we tested whether CEF administration would reduce the acquisition and maintenance of EtOH drinking in adolescent and adult female P rats. The rats were treated with saline or 200 mg/kg ceftriaxone for 7 days (starting at 35 or 75 days old, respectively) followed by the EtOH acquisition test. Five weeks later the effects of CEF were examined regarding the maintenance of EtOH intake. For the maintenance test, half of the animals that received CEF during acquisition received CEF for 7 days and the other half received saline for 7 days. Saline-treated acquisition animals were treated similarly. The results indicated that pretreatment with ceftriaxone reduced the maintenance of EtOH intake in both animals that started as adolescents and those that started as adults. However, the beneficial effect of CEF was more pronounced in rats pretreated with CEF as adults compared with rats pretreated as adolescents. Reductions in EtOH intake by ceftriaxone were paralleled by an upregulation of GLT1 protein levels in both the nucleus accumbens (µ25% in rats starting at both ages) and prefrontal cortex (µ50% in rats starting as peri-adolescents and µ65% in those starting as adults). These findings provide further support for GLT1-associated mechanisms in high alcohol consuming behavior, and hold promise for the development of effective treatments targeting alcohol abuse and dependence.
doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2013.03.016
PMCID: PMC3657748  PMID: 23537837
Ceftriaxone; EAAT2; acquisition; maintenance
6.  Neurotrophic Peptides, ADNF-9 and NAP, Prevent Alcohol-Induced Apoptosis at Midgestation in Fetal Brains of C57BL/6 Mouse 
Prenatal alcohol exposure is known to induce fetal brain growth deficits at different embryonic stages. We focused this study on investigating the neuroprotective effects against alcohol-induced apoptosis at midgestation using activity-dependent neurotrophic factor (ADNF)-9, a peptide (SALLRSIPA) derived from activity-dependent neurotrophic factor, and NAP, a peptide (NAPVSIPQ) derived from activity-dependent neuroprotective protein. We used an established fetal alcohol exposure mouse model. On embryonic day 7 (E7), weight-matched pregnant females were assigned to the following groups: (1) ethanol liquid diet (ALC) group with 25 % (4.49 %, v/v) ethanol-derived calories, (2) pair-fed (PF) control group, (3) ALC combined with i.p. injections (1.5 mg/kg) of ADNF-9 (ALC/ADNF-9) group, (4) ALC combined with i.p. injections (1.5 mg/kg) of NAP (ALC/NAP) group, (5) PF liquid diet combined with i.p. injections of ADNF-9 (PF/ADNF-9) group, and (6) PF liquid diet combined with i.p. injections of NAP (PF/NAP) group. On day 15 (E15), fetal brains were collected, weighed, and assayed for TdT-mediated dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) staining. ADNF-9 or NAP was administered daily from E7 to E15 alongside PF or ALC liquid diet exposure. Our results show that NAP and ADNF-9 significantly prevented alcohol-induced weight reduction of fetal brains. Apoptosis was determined by TUNEL staining; NAP or ADNF-9 administration alongside alcohol exposure significantly prevented alcohol-induced increase in TUNEL-positive cells in primordium of the cingulate cortex and ganglionic eminence. These findings may pave the path toward potential therapeutics against alcohol intoxication during pregnancy stages.
doi:10.1007/s12031-012-9921-3
PMCID: PMC3534902  PMID: 23229836
Neuroprotection; Fetal alcohol syndrome; Fetal alcohol exposure; Prenatal alcohol exposure; TUNEL; Apoptosis
7.  Role of glutamate transporter 1 in the attenuation of alcohol intake 
doi:10.3389/fnins.2014.00200
PMCID: PMC4101336  PMID: 25100932
EAAT2; GLT1; glutamate; alcohol dependence; P rats
8.  Effects of MS-153 on chronic ethanol consumption and GLT1 modulation of glutamate levels in male alcohol-preferring rats 
We have recently shown that upregulation of glutamate transporter 1 (GLT1) in the brain is associated in part with reduction in ethanol intake in alcohol-preferring (P) male rats. In this study, we investigated the effects of a synthetic compound, (R)-(−)-5-methyl-1-nicotinoyl-2-pyrazoline (MS-153), known to activate GLT1 on ethanol consumption as well as GLT1 expression and certain signaling pathways in P rats. P rats were given 24-h concurrent access to 15 and 30% ethanol, water and food for 5 weeks. On week 6, P rats received MS-153 at a dose of 50 mg/kg (i.p.) or a vehicle (i.p.) for 5 consecutive days. We also tested the effect of MS-153 on daily sucrose (10%) intake. Our studies revealed a significant decrease in ethanol intake at the dose of 50 mg/kg MS-153 from Day 1 through 14. In addition, MS-153 at dose of 50 mg/kg did not induce any significant effect on sucrose intake. Importantly, we found that MS-153 upregulated the GLT1 level in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) but not in the prefrontal cortex (PFC). In accordance, we found upregulation of nuclear NFkB-65 level in NAc in MS-153-treated group, however, IkBα was downregulated in MS-153-treated group in NAc. We did not find any changes in NFkB-65 and IkBα levels in PFC. Interestingly, we revealed that p-Akt was downregulated in ethanol vehicle treated groups in the NAc; this downregulation was reversed by MS-153 treatment. We did not observe any significant differences in glutamate aspartate transporter (GLAST) expression among all groups. These findings reveal MS-153 as a GLT1 modulator that may have potential as a therapeutic drug for the treatment of alcohol dependence.
doi:10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00366
PMCID: PMC4214358  PMID: 25400560
MS-153; glutamate; EAAT2; GLT1; alcohol dependence; P rats
9.  The 5-HT7 receptor as a potential target for treating drug and alcohol abuse 
Alcohol and drug abuse take a large toll on society and affected individuals. However, very few effective treatments are currently available to treat alcohol and drug addiction. Basic and clinical research has begun to provide some insights into the underlying neurobiological systems involved in the addiction process. Several neurotransmitter pathways have been implicated and distinct reward neurocircuitry have been proposed—including the mesocorticolimbic dopamine (MCL-DA) system and the extended amygdala. The serotonin (5-HT) neurotransmitter system is of particular interest and multiple 5-HT receptors are thought to play significant roles in alcohol and drug self-administration and the development of drug dependence. Among the 5-HT receptors, the 5-HT7 receptor is currently undergoing characterization as a potential target for the treatment of several psychiatric disorders. Although this receptor has received only limited research regarding addictive behaviors, aspects of its neuroanatomical, biochemical, physiological, pharmacological, and behavioral profiles suggest that it could play a key role in the addiction process. For instance, genomic studies in humans have suggested a link between variants in the gene encoding the 5-HT7 receptor and alcoholism. Recent behavioral testing using high-affinity antagonists in mice and preliminary tests with alcohol-preferring rats suggest that this receptor could mediate alcohol consumption and/or reinforcement and play a role in seeking/craving behavior. Interest in the development of new and more selective pharmacological agents for this receptor will aid in examining the 5-HT7 receptor as a novel target for treating addiction.
doi:10.3389/fnins.2014.00448
PMCID: PMC4292232  PMID: 25628528
serotonin-7 (5-HT7); alcohol abuse; drug abuse; mesocorticolimbic dopamine system; genetics; pharmacogenetics; selective breeding
10.  Adenosine and Glutamate Signaling in Neuron-Glial interactions: Implications in Alcoholism and Sleep Disorders 
Recent studies have demonstrated that the function of glia is not restricted to the support of neuronal function. Especially, astrocytes are essential for neuronal activity in the brain. Astrocytes actively participate in synapse formation and brain information processing by releasing or uptaking gliotransmitters such as glutamate, D-serine, adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP) and adenosine. In the central nervous system, adenosine plays an important role in regulating neuronal activity as well as in controlling other neurotransmitter systems such as GABA, glutamate and dopamine. Ethanol increases extracellular adenosine levels, which regulates the ataxic and hypnotic/sedative (somnogenic) effects of ethanol. Adenosine signaling is also involved in the homeostasis of major inhibitory-excitatory neurotransmission (i.e. GABA or glutamate) through neuron-glial interactions, which regulates the effect of ethanol and sleep. Adenosine transporters or astrocytic SNARE-mediated transmitter release regulates extracellular or synaptic adenosine levels. Adenosine then exerts its function through several adenosine receptors and regulates glutamate levels in the brain. This review presents novel findings on how neuron-glial interactions, particularly adenosinergic signaling and glutamate uptake activity involving glutamate transporter 1 (GLT1), are implicated in alcoholism and sleep disorders.
doi:10.1111/j.1530-0277.2011.01722.x
PMCID: PMC3349794  PMID: 22309182
Adenosine; Glutamate; Alcoholism; Sleep; Signaling; Pharmacology
11.  Neurotrophic Peptides: Potential Drugs for Treatment of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease 
Neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by the progressive loss of neurons and glial cells in the central nervous system correlated to their symptoms. Among these neurodegenerative diseases are Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Neurodegeneration is mostly restricted to specific neuronal populations: cholinergic neurons in AD and motoneurons in ALS. The demonstration that the onset and progression of neurodegenerative diseases in models of transgenic mice, in particular, is delayed or improved by the application of neurotrophic factors and derived peptides from neurotrophic factors has emphasized their importance in neurorestoration. A range of neurotrophic factors and growth peptide factors derived from activity-dependent neurotrophic factor/activity-dependent neuroprotective protein has been suggested to restore neuronal function, improve behavioral deficits and prolong the survival in animal models. In this review article, we focus on the role of trophic peptides in the improvement of AD and ALS. An understanding of the molecular pathways involved with trophic peptides in these neurodegenerative diseases may shed light on potential therapies.
PMCID: PMC3686488  PMID: 23795307
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis; Alzheimer’s disease; ADNF-9; NAP; Colivelin
12.  Ceftriaxone, a beta-lactam antibiotic, attenuates relapse-like ethanol-drinking behavior in alcohol-preferring rats 
Relapse-like ethanol-drinking behavior depends on increased glutamate transmission in the mesocorticolimbic motive circuit. Extracellular glutamate is regulated by a number of glutamate transporters. Of these transporters, glutamate transporter 1 (GLT1) is responsible for the majority of extracellular glutamate uptake. We have recently reported that ceftriaxone (CEF) treatment (i.p.), a β-lactam antibiotic known to elevate GTL1 expression, reduced ethanol intake in male alcohol-preferring (P) rats. We investigated here whether CEF treatment attenuates relapse-like ethanol-drinking behavior. P rats were exposed to free choice of 15% and 30% ethanol for 5 weeks and treated with CEF (50 and 100 mg/kg, i.p.) during the last 5 days of the 2-week deprivation period. Rats treated with CEF during the deprivation period showed a reduction in ethanol intake compared with saline-treated rats upon re-exposure to ethanol; this effect persisted for 9 days. Moreover, CEF-mediated attenuation in relapse to ethanol-drinking behavior was associated with upregulation of GLT1 level in prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens core. GLT1 upregulation was revealed only at the higher dose of CEF. In addition, CEF has no effect on relapse-like sucrose-drinking behavior. These findings suggest that ceftriaxone might be used as a potential therapeutic treatment for the attenuation of relapse-like ethanol-drinking behavior.
doi:10.1177/0269881113482529
PMCID: PMC3657312  PMID: 23518814
Relapse; glutamate; ethanol intake; EAAT2; alcohol dependence
13.  Role of 5-hydroxytryptamine 1B (5-HT1B) receptors in the regulation of ethanol intake in rodents 
Evidence indicates that the serotonergic system is important in mediating dependence on and craving for alcohol. Among serotonin receptors, 5-hydroxytryptamine 1B (5-HT1B) receptors have been associated with drug abuse including alcohol. In this review, the neurocircuitry involving 5-HT1B receptors in central reward brain regions related to alcohol intake are discussed in detail. Emphasis has been placed on the pharmacological manipulations of 5-HT1B receptor-mediated alcohol intake. Furthermore, 5-HT1B auto- and hetero-receptors regulate alcohol intake through the regulatory mechanism involving release of 5-HT, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), dopamine, and glutamate is evaluated. Thus, interactions between 5-HT1B receptors and these neurotransmitter systems are suggested to modulate alcohol-drinking behavior. This review on the role of 5-HT1B receptors in neurotransmitter release and consequent alcohol intake provides important information about the potential therapeutic role of 5-HT1B receptors for the treatment of alcohol dependence.
doi:10.1177/0269881112463126
PMCID: PMC3527648  PMID: 23118018
5-HT1B receptor; alcohol dependence; serotonin; GABA; dopamine
14.  Activity-dependent neurotrophic factor-derived peptide prevents alcohol-induced apoptosis, in part, through Bcl2 and JNK signaling pathways in fetal brain of C57BL/6 mouse 
Neuroscience  2011;202:465-473.
Fetal alcohol exposure is known to induce alteration in fetal brain development. In this study, we focused on neuroprotection against the effects of alcohol exposure using ADNF-9, a peptide derived from activity-dependent neurotrophic factor. We used a mouse model of fetal alcohol exposure to identify the intracellular mechanisms underlying the neuroprotective effects of ADNF-9. On embryonic day 7 (E7), weight-matched pregnant females were assigned to the following groups: (1) ethanol liquid diet (ALC) of 25% (4.49%, v/v) ethanol derived calories; (2) pair-fed control (PF); (3) ALC combined with administration (i.p.) of ADNF-9 (ALC/ADNF-9); and (4) pair-fed combined with administration (i.p.) of ADNF-9 (PF/ADNF-9). On E13, fetal brains were collected, weighed, and apoptosis was determined using TUNEL assay. Bcl2 protein and phospho-c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) levels were determined using Western blot and enzyme immunometric assay, respectively. ADNF-9 administration significantly prevented alcohol-induced reductions in fetal brain weight. In addition, ADNF-9 prevented an alcohol-induced increase in cell death in the primordium of the cerebral cortex and ganglionic eminence. Western blot analysis of the mitochondrial protein fractions revealed that ADNF-9 administration prevented an alcohol-induced reduction in the Bcl2 level. Moreover, an analysis of the proteins in the upstream signaling pathway revealed that ADNF-9 down-regulated the phosphorylation of JNK. These data indicate that the mitochondrial Bcl2 pathway and JNK upstream signaling pathway are the intracellular targets of ADNF-9. The neuroprotective mechanism of action of ADNF-9 provides a direction for potential therapeutics against alcohol-induced neural damage involving mitochondrial dysfunction.
doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2011.11.061
PMCID: PMC3268952  PMID: 22178609
ADNF-9; neuroprotection; JNK; mitochondria; apoptosis; Bcl2
15.  Role of the Serotonergic System in Alcohol Dependence: From Animal Models to Clinics 
Alcohol dependence remains among the most common substance abuse problems worldwide, and compulsive alcohol consumption is a significant public health concern. Alcohol is an addictive drug that alters brain function through interactions with multiple neurotransmitter systems. These neurotransmitter systems mediate the reinforcing effects of alcohol. Specifically, the serotonergic system is important in mediating alcohol reward, preference, dependence, and craving. In this review chapter, we first discuss the serotonin system as it relates to alcoholism, and then outline interactions between this system and other neurotransmitter systems. We emphasize the serotonin transporter and its possible role in alcoholism, then present several serotonergic receptors and discuss their contribution to alcoholism, and finally assess the serotonin system as a target for pharmacotherapy, with an emphasis on current and potential treatments.
doi:10.1016/B978-0-12-385506-0.00010-7
PMCID: PMC3508458  PMID: 21199778
16.  Cilostazol Prevents Endothelin-Induced Smooth Muscle Constriction and Proliferation 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e44476.
Cilostazol is a phosphodiesterase inhibitor that has been shown to inhibit platelet activation. Endothelin is known to be the most potent endogenous growth promoting and vasoactive peptide. In patients and animal models with stroke, the level of circulating endothelin increases and complicates the recovery progress contributed by vascular constriction (an immediate pathology) and vascular proliferation (a long-term pathology). However, the effects of cilostazol on endothelin have not been explored. To demonstrate the dual-antagonizing effects of cilostazol on vasoconstriction and cell proliferation induced by endothelin, we used primary culture of mouse vascular smooth muscle cells in vitro, mouse femoral artery ex vivo, and intracranial basilar artery ex vivo. We show that the dual-inhibition effects of cilostazol are mediated by blocking endothelin-induced extracellular calcium influx. Although cilostazol does not inhibit endothelin-induced intraorganellar calcium release, blockade of extracellular calcium influx is sufficient to blunt endothelin-induced vasoconstriction. We also show that cilostazol inhibits endothelin-induced cellular proliferation by blocking extracellular calcium influx. Inhibition of cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) can block anti-proliferation activity of cilostazol, confirming the downstream role of PKA in cellular proliferation. To further demonstrate the selectivity of the dual-antagonizing effects of cilostazol, we used a different phosphodiesterase inhibitor. Interestingly, sildenafil inhibits endothelin-induced vasoconstriction but not cellular proliferation in smooth muscle cells. For the first time, we show selective dual-antagonizing effects of cilostazol on endothelin. We propose that cilostazol is an excellent candidate to treat endothelin-associated diseases, such as stroke.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044476
PMCID: PMC3434142  PMID: 22957074
17.  Differential expression of proteins in fetal brains of alcohol-treated prenatally C57BL/6 mice: a proteomic investigation 
Electrophoresis  2010;31(3):483-496.
Alcohol is known to impede the growth of the central nervous system and to induce neurodegeneration through cellular apoptosis. We have previously shown that moderate prenatal alcohol exposure results in brain defects at different stages of development. In this study, we further characterize the proteomic architecture underlying ethanol teratogenesis during early fetal brain development using chromatography in conjunction with a tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) system. Pregnant C57BL/6 mice were exposed from embryonic day 7 (E7) to E13 with either a 25% ethanol derived calorie (ALC) or pair-fed (PF) liquid diets. At E13, fetal brains were collected from 5 dams for each group. Individual brains were homogenized and the extracted proteins were then tryptically digested and analyzed by LC-MS/MS. Label-free quantitative proteomic analyses were performed on proteomes extracted from fetal brains of both ALC and PF groups. These analyses demonstrated that prenatal alcohol exposure induced significant down-regulation (p < 0.001) of the expression of mitochondrial enzymes including ADP/ATP translocase 1, ATP synthase subunit α and ubiquinol-cytochrome-c reductases. In addition, mitochondrial carrier homolog 1, which plays a role in apoptosis, was significantly down-regulated (p < 0.001) in the ALC group. Moreover, among the cytosolic proteins that were significantly down-regulated (p < 0.001) are Bcl-2, 14-3-3 protein and calmodulin. Significant down-regulation (p < 0.001) of proteins that are critical for fetal brain development was observed such as prohibitin and neuronal migration protein doublecortin. These findings provide information about possible mechanisms underlying the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure during early embryonic stage.
doi:10.1002/elps.200900385
PMCID: PMC3431165  PMID: 20119957
ethanol; teratogenesis; cytochrome c; mitochondria; apoptosis
18.  Alteration of selective neurotransmitters in fetal brains of prenatally alcohol-treated C57BL/6 mice: Quantitative analysis using liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry 
We previously demonstrated that prenatal alcohol exposure results in brain defects at different embryonic stages. This study is aimed at characterizing the influence of prenatal alcohol exposure on the levels of several neurotransmitters at early embryonic stage 13 (E13). Pregnant C57BL/6 mice were exposed to either a 25% ethanol derived calorie diet (ALC) or pair-fed (PF) liquid diet from E7 to E13. At E13, fetal brains were collected from dams of the ALC and PF groups. Liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS) was then used to evaluate neurotransmitter levels. This approach involved the use of an LC column in conjunction with multiple-reaction monitoring mass spectrometry. Quantitative analyses of catecholamines, idolamine, and amino acid neurotransmitters revealed significant reductions in the levels of dopamine (p=0.004), norepinephrine (p=0.0009), epinephrine (p=0.0002), serotonin (p=0.004), and GABA (p=0.002) in the ALC group compared to the PF group. However, there was no significant change in the levels of glutamate in E13 fetal brains. These findings demonstrate that prenatal alcohol exposure reduces the concentrations of some catecholamines, idolamine, and amino acid neurotransmitters in E13 fetal brains. This study suggests that alterations of selective neurotransmitters may be the cause of abnormalities in brain function and behavior found in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
doi:10.1016/j.ijdevneu.2010.01.004
PMCID: PMC3426837  PMID: 20123123
fetal alcohol exposure; serotonin; dopamine; norepinephrine; GABA; LC-MS
19.  Potential Drugs and Methods for Preventing or Delaying the Progression of Huntington’s Disease 
Huntington’s disease (HD) is an autosomal dominant inherited and progressive neurodegenerative disorder with motor dysfunction and cognitive deficits. Although, there are no treatments to delay the appearance and the progression of HD, there are potential drugs currently in preclinical and clinical trials that are focused on HD therapy. The signaling pathways involved in HD are not yet clearly elucidated; however, expression of mutant huntingtin protein is considered a key factor in the induction and/or progression of HD. The demonstration that the onset and progression of HD in models of transgenic mice, in particular, are delayed or improved by the application of neurotrophic factors has emphasized their importance in neuroprotection in HD. In addition, other compounds targeting the HD gene or mutant huntingtin protein are currently in preclinical and clinical testing and may show promising neuroprotective effects. There are current patented drugs that are currently being considered as potential therapeutics for HD. These patented drugs may provide promising therapy for HD.
PMCID: PMC3412543  PMID: 21585328
Huntington’s disease; neurodegenerative diseases; neuroprotection; oxidative stress
20.  Ceftriaxone, a Beta-Lactam Antibiotic, Reduces Ethanol Consumption in Alcohol-Preferring Rats 
Aims: Changes in glutamatergic transmission affect many aspects of neuroplasticity associated with ethanol and drug addiction. For instance, ethanol- and drug-seeking behavior is promoted by increased glutamate transmission in key regions of the motive circuit. We hypothesized that because glutamate transporter 1 (GLT1) is responsible for the removal of most extracellular glutamate, up-regulation or activation of GLT1 would attenuate ethanol consumption. Methods: Alcohol-preferring (P) rats were given 24 h/day concurrent access to 15 and 30% ethanol, water and food for 7 weeks. During Week 6, P rats received either 25, 50, 100 or 200 mg/kg ceftriaxone (CEF, i.p.), a β-lactam antibiotic known to elevate GLT1 expression, or a saline vehicle for five consecutive days. Water intake, ethanol consumption and body weight were measured daily for 15 days starting on Day 1 of injections. We also tested the effects of CEF (100 and 200 mg/kg, i.p.) on daily sucrose (10%) consumption as a control for motivated behavioral drinking. Results: Statistical analyses revealed a significant reduction in daily ethanol, but not sucrose, consumption following CEF treatment. During the post treatment period, there was a recovery of ethanol intake across days. Dose-dependent increases in water intake were manifest concurrent with the CEF-induced decreases in ethanol intake. Nevertheless, CEF did not affect body weight. An examination of a subset of the CEF-treated ethanol-drinking rats, on the third day post CEF treatment, revealed increases in GTL1 expression levels within the prefrontal cortex and nucleus accumbens. Conclusions: These results indicate that CEF effectively reduces ethanol intake, possibly through activation of GLT1, and may be a potential therapeutic drug for alcohol addiction treatment.
doi:10.1093/alcalc/agr023
PMCID: PMC3104611  PMID: 21422004
21.  Neuroprotective peptide ADNF-9 in fetal brain of C57BL/6 mice exposed prenatally to alcohol 
Background
A derived peptide from activity-dependent neurotrophic factor (ADNF-9) has been shown to be neuroprotective in the fetal alcohol exposure model. We investigated the neuroprotective effects of ADNF-9 against alcohol-induced apoptosis using TUNEL staining. We further characterize in this study the proteomic architecture underlying the role of ADNF-9 against ethanol teratogenesis during early fetal brain development using liquid chromatography in conjunction with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS).
Methods
Pregnant C57BL/6 mice were exposed from embryonic days 7-13 (E7-E13) to a 25% ethanol-derived calorie [25% EDC, Alcohol (ALC)] diet, a 25% EDC diet simultaneously administered i.p. ADNF-9 (ALC/ADNF-9), or a pair-fed (PF) liquid diet. At E13, fetal brains were collected from 5 dams from each group, weighed, and frozen for LC-MS/MS procedure. Other fetal brains were fixed for TUNEL staining.
Results
Administration of ADNF-9 prevented alcohol-induced reduction in fetal brain weight and alcohol-induced increases in cell death. Moreover, individual fetal brains were analyzed by LC-MS/MS. Statistical differences in the amounts of proteins between the ALC and ALC/ADNF-9 groups resulted in a distinct data-clustering. Significant upregulation of several important proteins involved in brain development were found in the ALC/ADNF-9 group as compared to the ALC group.
Conclusion
These findings provide information on potential mechanisms underlying the neuroprotective effects of ADNF-9 in the fetal alcohol exposure model.
doi:10.1186/1423-0127-18-77
PMCID: PMC3215654  PMID: 22017746
22.  Huntington’s Disease: From Mutant Huntingtin Protein to Neurotrophic Factor Therapy 
Huntington’s disease (HD) is an inherited disorder characterized by neuronal dysfunction and degeneration in striatum and cerebral cortex. Although the signaling pathways involved in HD are not yet clearly elucidated, mutant huntingtin protein is a key factor in the induction of neurodegeneration. The mutant huntingtin protein alters intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis, disrupts intracellular trafficking and impairs gene transcription. In this review, I emphasize the effects of mutant huntingtin protein in Ca2+ handling and transcriptional factors. Transcriptional alterations are key factors in the deficits of several proteins involved in the cellular machinery. These proteins include neurotrophic factors such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor, fibroblast growth factor, glial-cell-line-derived neurotrophic factor, ciliary neurotrophic factor and neurturin that have been suggested to restore neuronal dysfunction, improve behavioral deficits and prolong the survival in animal models of HD. An understanding of the molecular pathways involved in neurodegeneration will shed light on the choice of neurotrophic factors targeting a specific neuronal population in HD and will consequently overcome behavioral deficits.
PMCID: PMC3154262  PMID: 21841917
neurotrophic factors; neurturin; mutant huntingtin protein; neuroprotection
23.  Huntington’s Disease: From Mutant Huntingtin Protein to Neurotrophic Factor Therapy 
Huntington’s disease (HD) is an inherited disorder characterized by neuronal dysfunction and degeneration in striatum and cerebral cortex. Although the signaling pathways involved in HD are not yet clearly elucidated, mutant huntingtin protein is a key factor in the induction of neurodegeneration. The mutant huntingtin protein alters intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis, disrupts intracellular trafficking and impairs gene transcription. In this review, I emphasize the effects of mutant huntingtin protein in Ca2+ handling and transcriptional factors. Transcriptional alterations are key factors in the deficits of several proteins involved in the cellular machinery. These proteins include neurotrophic factors such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor, fibroblast growth factor, glial-cell-line-derived neurotrophic factor, ciliary neurotrophic factor and neurturin that have been suggested to restore neuronal dysfunction, improve behavioral deficits and prolong the survival in animal models of HD. An understanding of the molecular pathways involved in neurodegeneration will shed light on the choice of neurotrophic factors targeting a specific neuronal population in HD and will consequently overcome behavioral deficits.
PMCID: PMC3154262  PMID: 21841917
neurotrophic factors; neurturin; mutant huntingtin protein; neuroprotection
24.  A novel peptide, colivelin, prevents alcohol-induced apoptosis in fetal brain of C57BL/6 mice: signaling pathway investigations 
Neuroscience  2009;164(4):1653-1664.
Fetal alcohol exposure is known to induce cell death through apoptosis. We found that colivelin (CLN), a novel peptide with the sequence SALLRSIPAPAGASRLLLLTGEIDLP, prevents this apoptosis. Our initial experiment revealed that CLN enhanced the viability of primary cortical neurons exposed to alcohol. We then used a mouse model of fetal alcohol exposure to identify the intracellular mechanisms underlying these neuroprotective effects. On embryonic day 7 (E7), weight-matched pregnant females were assigned to the following groups: (1) ethanol liquid diet (ALC) 25% (4.49%, v/v) ethanol derived calories; (2) pair-fed control; (3) normal chow; (4) ALC combined with administration (i.p.) of CLN (20 μg/20 g body weight); and (5) pair-fed combined with administration (i.p.) of CLN (20 μg/20 g body weight). On E13, fetal brains were collected and assayed for TUNEL staining, caspase-3 colorimetric assay, ELISA, and MSD electrochemiluminescence. CLN blocked the alcohol-induced decline in brain weight and prevented alcohol-induced: apoptosis, activation of caspase-3 and increases of cytosolic cytochrome c, and decreases of mitochondrial cytochrome c. Analysis of proteins in the upstream signaling pathway revealed that CLN down-regulated the phosphorylation of the c-Jun N-terminal kinase. Moreover, CLN prevented alcohol-induced reduction in phosphorylation of BAD protein. Thus, CLN appears to act directly on upstream signaling proteins to prevent alcohol-induced apoptosis. Further assessment of these proteins and their signaling mechanisms is likely to enhance development of neuroprotective therapies.
doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2009.09.049
PMCID: PMC2783970  PMID: 19782727
colivelin; ADNF-9; neuroprotection; fetal alcohol exposure; cytochrome c; mitochondria; apoptosis; caspase-3; TUNEL
25.  Ceftriaxone-induced up-regulation of cortical and striatal GLT1 in the R6/2 model of Huntington's disease 
Background
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1423-0127-17-62
PMCID: PMC2918547  PMID: 20663216

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