, Volume 54, Issue 1, pp 71-77
Date: 18 Feb 2014

Effects of Ceftriaxone on Chronic Ethanol Consumption: a Potential Role for xCT and GLT1 Modulation of Glutamate Levels in Male P Rats

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Abstract

Alterations in glutamatergic neurotransmission have been suggested to affect many aspects of neuroplasticity associated with alcohol/drug addiction. We have previously shown that ceftriaxone, a β-lactam antibiotic known to upregulate glutamate transporter 1 (GLT1), reduced ethanol intake after 5 weeks of free choice ethanol drinking paradigm in male alcohol-preferring (P) rats. Evidence suggests that differential effects involving alterations of glutamatergic neurotransmission occur after long-term ethanol consumption. In this study, we tested whether the efficacy of administration of ceftriaxone persists after 14 weeks of free access to 15 and 30 % ethanol in male P rats. After 14 weeks of ethanol consumption, male P rats were administered ceftriaxone (100 mg/kg, intraperitoneal (i.p.)) or saline vehicle for 5 days. We found that ceftriaxone treatment resulted in a significant reduction in ethanol intake starting from day 2 (48 h after the first i.p. injections of ceftriaxone) through day 14, 10 days after final injection. Western blot analysis of brain samples from animals euthanized 24 h after treatment with the last dose of ceftriaxone revealed a significant upregulation of cystine/glutamate exchanger (xCT) and GLT1 levels in prefrontal cortex, nucleus accumbens, and amygdala as compared to saline vehicle-treated group. These findings demonstrated the effectiveness of ceftriaxone in attenuating ethanol intake in a chronic consumption paradigm. These might be due in part through the upregulation of both xCT and GLT1 levels in brain reward regions. Thus, the drug has a potential therapeutic action for the treatment of alcohol dependence.