Peri-adolescent drinking of ethanol and/or nicotine modulates astroglial glutamate transporters and metabotropic glutamate receptor-1 in female alcohol-preferring rats

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Abstract

Impairment in glutamate neurotransmission mediates the development of dependence upon nicotine (NIC) and ethanol (EtOH). Previous work indicates that continuous access to EtOH or phasic exposure to NIC reduces expression of the glutamate transporter-1 (GLT-1) and cystine/glutamate antiporter (xCT) but not the glutamate/aspartate transporter (GLAST). Additionally, metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) expression was affected following exposure to EtOH or NIC. However, little is known about the effects of EtOH and NIC co-consumption on GLT-1, xCT, GLAST, and mGluR1 expression. In this study, peri-adolescent female alcohol preferring (P) rats were given binge-like access to water, sucrose (SUC), SUC-NIC, EtOH, or EtOH-NIC for four weeks. The present study determined the effects of these reinforcers on GLT-1, xCT, GLAST, and mGluR1 expression in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), hippocampus (HIP) and prefrontal cortex (PFC). GLT-1 and xCT expression were decreased in the NAc following both SUC-NIC and EtOH-NIC. In addition, only xCT expression was downregulated in the HIP in both of these latter groups. Also, glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity in the HIP was reduced following SUC, SUC-NIC, EtOH, and EtOH-NIC consumption. Similar to previous work, GLAST expression was not altered in any brain region by any of the reinforcers. However, mGluR1 expression was increased in the NAc in the SUC-NIC, EtOH, and EtOH-NIC groups. These results indicate that peri-adolescent binge-like drinking of EtOH or SUC with or without NIC may exert differential effects on astroglial glutamate transporters and receptors. Our data further parallel some of the previous findings observed in adult rats.

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