Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior

Reversal of cocaine-induced planarian behavior by parthenolide and related sesquiterpene lactones.

PMID 18222535


Here we report the prevention and reversal of cocaine-induced behaviors in planarian worms by parthenolide and two related cyclic sesquiterpene lactones (SL), costunolide and santonin. Using established protocols, we studied two cocaine-induced behavioral effects in planaria; the induction of motility decrease and the induction of C-like hyperkinesia. Cocaine, parthenolide, costunolide, santonin, and a lactone-less cyclic sesquiterpene, beta-eudesmol, decreased planarian motility in a concentration-dependent manner. Only cocaine induced C-like hyperkinesia. At concentrations that did not show any motility decrease, parthenolide, costunolide and santonin, but not beta-eudesmol, significantly reduced the cocaine-induced motility decrease and C-like hyperkinesia, in a concentration-dependent manner. Furthermore, parthenolide, costunolide and santonin were able to rescue planaria from C-like hyperkinesia, after the worms were exposed to cocaine. Conversely, cocaine at a concentration that did not show any measurable effects (10 microM), was able to alleviate the SL-, but not the beta-eudesmol-induced motility decrease. Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry experiments demonstrated that cocaine does not interact directly with any of the cyclic sesquiterpenoids, which suggests specific biochemical targets for these compounds in planarians. Our data suggests a common binding site for cocaine and the sesquiterpene lactones in planarians.

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