Tobacco exposure has been linked to neuroinflammation and adaptive/maladaptive changes in neurotransmitter systems, including in glutamatergic systems. We examined the effects of waterpipe tobacco smoke (WTS) on inflammatory mediators and astroglial glutamate transporters in mesocorticolimbic brain regions including the prefrontal cortex (PFC), nucleus accumbens (NAc) and ventral tegmental area (VTA). The behavioral consequences of WTS exposure on withdrawal-induced anxiety-like behavior were assessed using elevated plus maze (EPM) and open field (OF) tests. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned to 3 experimental groups: a control group exposed only to standard room air, a WTS exposed group treated with saline vehicle, and a WTS exposed group treated with ceftriaxone. WTS exposure was performed for 2 h/day, 5 days/week, for 4 weeks. Behavioral tests (EPM and OF) were conducted weekly 24 h after WTS exposure, during acute withdrawal. During week 4, rats were given either saline or ceftriaxone (200 mg/kg i.p.) 30 min before WTS exposure. WTS increased withdrawal-induced anxiety, and ceftriaxone attenuated this effect. WTS exposure increased the relative mRNA levels for nuclear factor ĸB (NFĸB), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the PFC, NAc and VTA, and ceftriaxone treatment reversed these effects. In addition, WTS decreased the relative mRNA of nuclear factor erythroid 2 related factor 2 (Nrf2), glutamate transporter 1 (GLT-1) and cystine-glutamate transporter (xCT) in PFC, NAc and VTA, and ceftriaxone treatment normalized their expression. WTS caused neuroinflammation, alteration in relative mRNA glutamate transport expression, and increased anxiety-like behavior, and these effects were attenuated by ceftriaxone treatment.
Keywords: GLT-1; NFĸ-B; TNFα; VTA; anxiety-like behavior; xCT.
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