Erysodine, a competitive antagonist at neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, decreases ethanol consumption in alcohol-preferring UChB rats

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Graphical abstractThe erysodine administration (during three days of treatment) reduces ethanol consumption in an animal model of alcohol dependence (UChB rats) using two-bottle choice paradigm.Alcohol abuse is a worldwide health problem with high economic costs to health systems. Emerging evidence suggests that modulation of brain nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) may be a therapeutic target for alcohol dependence. In this work, we assess the effectiveness of four doses of erysodine (1.5, 2.0, 4.0 or 8.0 mg/kg/day, i.p.), a competitive antagonist of nAChRs, on voluntary ethanol consumption behavior in alcohol-preferring UChB rats, administered during three consecutive days. Results show that erysodine administration produces a dose-dependent reduction in ethanol consumption respect to saline injection (control group). The highest doses of erysodine (4 and 8 mg/kg) reduce (45 and 66%, respectively) the ethanol intake during treatment period and first day of post-treatment compared to control group. While, the lowest doses of erysodine (1.5 and 2 mg/kg) only reduce ethanol intake during one day of treatment period. These effective reductions in ethanol intake were 23 and 29% for 1.5 and 2 mg/kg erysodine, respectively. Locomotor activity induced by a high dose of erysodine (10 mg/kg) was similar to those observed with saline injection in control rats, showing that the reduction in ethanol intake was not produced by hypolocomotor effect induced by erysodine. This is the first report showing that erysodine reduces ethanol intake in UChB rats in a dose-dependent manner. Our results highlight the role of nAChRs in the reward effects of ethanol and its modulation as a potentially effective pharmacological alternative for alcohol dependence treatment.

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