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1.  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
2.  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
3.  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
4.  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

Results 1-4 (4)