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.
5-HT1B receptor; alcohol dependence; serotonin; GABA; dopamine
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.
ADNF-9; neuroprotection; JNK; mitochondria; apoptosis; Bcl2
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.
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.
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.
ethanol; teratogenesis; cytochrome c; mitochondria; apoptosis
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.
fetal alcohol exposure; serotonin; dopamine; norepinephrine; GABA; LC-MS
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.
Huntington’s disease; neurodegenerative diseases; neuroprotection; oxidative stress
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.
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).
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.
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.
These findings provide information on potential mechanisms underlying the neuroprotective effects of ADNF-9 in the fetal alcohol exposure model.
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.
neurotrophic factors; neurturin; mutant huntingtin protein; neuroprotection
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.
colivelin; ADNF-9; neuroprotection; fetal alcohol exposure; cytochrome c; mitochondria; apoptosis; caspase-3; TUNEL
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.
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
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