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Involvement of neuronal nitric oxide synthase in cross-sensitization between chronic unpredictable stress and ethanol in adolescent and adult mice.

  • Author(s): Santos-Rocha, Jaqueline Borges
  • Rae, Mariana
  • Teixeira, Ana Maria Aristimunho
  • Teixeira, Simone Aparecida
  • Munhoz, Carolina Demarchi
  • Muscará, Marcelo Nicolas
  • Marcourakis, Tania
  • Szumlinski, Karen K
  • Camarini, Rosana
  • et al.

The peculiar neurochemical profile of the adolescent brain renders it differently susceptible to several stimuli, including stress and/or drug exposure. Among several stress mediators, nitric oxide (NO) has a role in stress responses. We have demonstrated that adolescent mice are less sensitive to ethanol-induced sensitization than adult mice. The present study investigated whether chronic unpredictable stress (CUS) induces behavioral sensitization to ethanol in adolescent and adult Swiss mice, and investigated the influence of Ca2+-dependent nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity in the phenomenon. Adolescent and adult mice were exposed to repeated 1.8 g/kg ethanol or CUS and challenged with saline or ethanol. A neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) inhibitor, 7-nitroindazole (7NI), was administered along with ethanol and CUS to test its effects on behavioral sensitization. Both adolescent and adult mice displayed cross-sensitization between CUS and ethanol in adult mice, with adolescents showing a lower degree of sensitization than adults. nNOS inhibition by 7NI reduced both ethanol sensitization and cross-sensitization. All age differences in the Ca2+-dependent NOS activity in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex were in the direction of greater activity in adults than in adolescents. Adolescents showed lower sensitivity to cross-sensitization between CUS and ethanol, and the nitric oxide (NO) system seems to have a pivotal role in ethanol-induced behavioral sensitization and cross-sensitization in both adolescent and adult mice.

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