, Volume 232, Issue 13, pp 2333–2342 | Cite as

Effects of ceftriaxone on GLT1 isoforms, xCT and associated signaling pathways in P rats exposed to ethanol

  • P. S. S. Rao
  • Hannah Saternos
  • Sunil Goodwani
  • Youssef SariEmail author
Original Investigation



Several studies have demonstrated a correlation between extracellular glutamate concentration in the mesolimbic reward pathway and alcohol craving. Extracellular glutamate concentration is regulated by several glutamate transporters. Glial glutamate transporter 1 (GLT1) is one of them that regulates the majority of extracellular glutamate concentration. In addition, cystine/glutamate antiporter (xCT) is another transporter that regulates extracellular glutamate.


We focus in this study to determine the effects of ceftriaxone, β-lactam antibiotic, on glial proteins such as GLT1 isoforms, xCT, glutamate aspartate transporter (GLAST), and several associated signaling pathways as well as ethanol intake in P rats. Additionally, to examine the onset of signaling pathways associated with GLT1 upregulation following ceftriaxone treatment, we tested 2- versus 5-day daily dosing of ceftriaxone.


Ceftriaxone treatment (100 mg/kg), 2 and 5 days, resulted in about five fold reduction in ethanol intake by P rats. The reduction in ethanol intake was associated with significantly enhanced expression of GLT1, GLT1a, GLT1b, and xCT in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and prefrontal cortex (PFC) of 5-day ceftriaxone-treated P rats. Two-day-treated P rats showed marked changes in expression of these glutamate transporters in the PFC but not in the NAc. Importantly, ceftriaxone-treated P rats (2 and 5 days) demonstrated enhanced phosphorylation of Akt and nuclear translocation of nuclear factor kappaB (NFκB) in the NAc and PFC compared to control animals.


These findings demonstrate that ceftriaxone treatment induced upregulation of GLT1, GLT1 isoforms, and xCT in association with activation of the Akt-NFκB signaling pathway.


Glutamate GLT1 EAAT2 P rats Ceftriaxone Nucleus accumbens Prefrontal cortex 



This work was supported by Award Number R01AA019458 (Y.S.) from the National Institutes on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The authors thank Dr. Jeffery Rothstein from Johns Hopkins University and Dr. Paul Rosenberg from Harvard Medical School for proving our laboratory with GLT1a and GLT1b, respectively. The authors would like to thank Charisse Montgomery for editing this manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. S. S. Rao
    • 1
  • Hannah Saternos
    • 1
  • Sunil Goodwani
    • 1
  • Youssef Sari
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical SciencesUniversity of ToledoToledoUSA

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