Ethanol- and Nicotine-Induced Changes in Beta-Endorphin Levels in Distinct Brain Areas of Adolescent Wistar Rat
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Introduction: Alcohol and nicotine, two of the top leading risk factors for death according to WHO, are commonly co-abused. Adolescence is a time of crucial development, maturation and reorganization of the brain and unfortunately also the time when many individuals use or abuse alcohol and nicotine. Endogenous opioid peptides, i.e. endorphins, enkephalins and dynorphins play an important role in reward processes and have been shown to mediate effects of both alcohol and nicotine in adult individuals. Aim: To investigate the impact of chronic exposure of alcohol and nicotine, alone and in combination, on the endogenous opioid beta-endorphin in the young developing brain. Method: Male Wistar rats were administered intragastric ethanol, subcutaneous nicotine or a combination of both, in a binge-like fashion for five weeks. The brains were dissected and beta-endorphin levels were measured in different brain areas by radioimmunoassay. Results: Chronic ethanol changes beta-endorphin levels in the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens whereas chronic nicotine changes beta-endorphin levels in the hypothalamus. Interaction effects of the two drugs were found in amygdala and the hypothalamus. Conclusion: Chronic alcohol and/or nicotine use alters the beta-endorphin levels in brain areas associated with the reward system. These alterations may chronically affect the brain reward system and affect the individual’s vulnerability to develop alcohol use disorder and/or change the response to drug treatment involving opioids in the future.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 25 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-274168OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-274168DiVA: diva2:895891
Subject / course
Master of Science Programme in Pharmacy
Nylander, Ingrid, Professor
Roman, Erika, farmacie doktor