Sari, Y; Franklin, K M; Alazizi, A; Rao, P S; Bell, R L
Increased glutamatergic neurotransmission appears to mediate the reinforcing properties of drugs of abuse, including ethanol (EtOH). We recently reported that the administration of ceftriaxone (CEF), a β-lactam antibiotic known to upregulate glutamate transporter 1 (GLT1) levels/activity, decreased the maintenance of EtOH intake in adult male alcohol-preferring (P) rats. In the present study, we tested whether CEF administration would reduce the acquisition and maintenance of EtOH drinking in adolescent and adult female P rats. The rats were treated with saline or 200mg/kg ceftriaxone for 7 days (starting at 35 or 75 days old, respectively) followed by the EtOH acquisition test. Five weeks later the effects of CEF were examined regarding the maintenance of EtOH intake. For the maintenance test, half of the animals that received CEF during acquisition received CEF for 7 days and the other half received saline for 7 days. Saline-treated acquisition animals were treated similarly. The results indicated that pretreatment with ceftriaxone reduced the maintenance of EtOH intake in both animals that started as adolescents and those that started as adults. However, the beneficial effect of CEF was more pronounced in rats pretreated with CEF as adults compared with rats pretreated as adolescents. Reductions in EtOH intake by ceftriaxone were paralleled by an upregulation of GLT1 protein levels in both the nucleus accumbens (∼25% in rats starting at both ages) and prefrontal cortex (∼50% in rats starting as peri-adolescents and ∼65% in those starting as adults). These findings provide further support for GLT1-associated mechanisms in high alcohol-consuming behavior, and hold promise for the development of effective treatments targeting alcohol abuse and dependence.