Hammad, Alaa M; Alasmari, Fawaz; Sari, Youssef; Scott Hall, F; Tiwari, Amit K
Two efflux transporters, ATP-binding cassettes B1 (ABCB1) and G2 (ABCG2), are highly expressed in the endothelial cells of the brain, where they regulate the bioavailability and distribution of several endogenous and xenobiotic compounds. However, whether ABCB1 or ABCG2 has any link with drug dependence, drug withdrawal effects, or the incidence of adverse effects in drug abuser is not known. In this study, we determined the effects of voluntary ethanol consumption following repeated exposure to cocaine or vehicle on the relative mRNA and protein expression of Abcg2/ABCG2 and Abcb1/ABCB1 in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) of male alcohol-preferring (P) rats. Male P rats were allowed free choice access to ethanol (15 and 30% v/v) and water for 5 weeks to establish baseline drinking behavior. The following week, rats were either injected with 20 mg/kg i.p. of cocaine or saline, once a day, for 7 days. The relative mRNA and protein expression of Abcb1/ABCB1 and Abcg2/ABCG2 in the NAc and mPFC were significantly decreased in ethanol-saline- and ethanol-cocaine-exposed rats compared to control rats that received neither ethanol nor cocaine. Thus, prolonged exposure to commonly abused drugs, ethanol and cocaine, alters the expression of Abcb1/ABCB1 and Abcg2/ABCG2 mRNA and protein levels in brain areas that play a role in drug dependence.