• N-Acetylcysteine and Acetylsalicylic Acid Inhibit Alcohol Consumption by Different Mechanisms: Combined Protection.

N-Acetylcysteine and Acetylsalicylic Acid Inhibit Alcohol Consumption by Different Mechanisms: Combined Protection.

Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience (2020-08-28)
María Elena Quintanilla, Fernando Ezquer, Paola Morales, Marcelo Ezquer, Belen Olivares, Daniela Santapau, Mario Herrera-Marschitz, Yedy Israel

Chronic ethanol intake results in brain oxidative stress and neuroinflammation, which have been postulated to perpetuate alcohol intake and to induce alcohol relapse. The present study assessed the mechanisms involved in the inhibition of: (i) oxidative stress; (ii) neuroinflammation; and (iii) ethanol intake that follow the administration of the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and the anti-inflammatory acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) to animals that had consumed ethanol chronically. At doses used clinically, NAC [40 mg/kg per day orally (p.o.)] and ASA (15 mg/kg per day p.o.) significantly inhibited chronic alcohol intake and relapse intake in alcohol-preferring rats. The coadministration of both drugs reduced ethanol intake by 65% to 70%. N-acetylcysteine administration: (a) induced the Nrf2-ARE system, lowering the hippocampal oxidative stress assessed as the ratio of oxidized glutathione (GSSG)/reduced glutathione (GSH); (b) reduced the neuroinflammation assessed by astrocyte and microglial activation by immunofluorescence; and (c) inhibited chronic and relapse ethanol intake. These effects were blocked by sulfasalazine, an inhibitor of the xCT transporter, which incorporates cystine (precursor of GSH) and extrudes extracellular glutamate, an agonist of the inhibitory mGlu2/3 receptor, which lowers the synaptic glutamatergic tone. The inhibitor of mGlu2/3 receptor (LY341495) blocked the NAC-induced inhibition of both relapse ethanol intake and neuroinflammation without affecting the GSSG/GSH ratio. Unlike N-acetylcysteine, ASA inhibited chronic alcohol intake and relapse via lipoxin A4, a strong anti-inflammatory metabolite of arachidonic acid generated following the ASA acetylation of cyclooxygenases. Accordingly, the lipoxin A4 receptor inhibitor, WRW4, blocked the ASA-induced reduction of ethanol intake. Overall, via different mechanisms, NAC and ASA administered in clinically relevant doses combine their effects inhibiting ethanol intake.

Product Number
Product Description

Ethanol solution, NIST® SRM® 2899a, nominal 25% by mass
5,5′-Dithiobis(2-nitrobenzoic acid), ≥98%, BioReagent, suitable for determination of sulfhydryl groups
β-Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide 2′-phosphate reduced tetrasodium salt hydrate, ≥93% (HPLC)
Lipoxin A4, ethanol solution
Glutathione Reductase from baker's yeast (S. cerevisiae), ammonium sulfate suspension, 100-300 units/mg protein (biuret)