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GET73 Prevents Ethanol-Induced Neurotoxicity in Primary Cultures of Rat Hippocampal Neurons

Maria C. Tomasini, Andrea C. Borelli, Sarah Beggiato, Sergio Tanganelli, Antonella Loche, Roberto Cacciaglia, Luca Ferraro, Tiziana Antonelli
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/alcalc/agv094 128-135 First published online: 12 August 2015


Aims N-[(4-trifluoromethyl) benzyl] 4-methoxybutyramide (GET73) may be considered a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of alcohol use disorders. The compound displayed anti-alcohol and anxiolytic properties in rat. In the present study, an in vitro experimental model of chronic ethanol treatment was used to investigate the ability of the compound to counteract the ethanol-induced neurotoxicity.

Methods Primary cultures of rat hippocampal neurons were exposed to ethanol (75 mM; 4 days) and the neuroprotective effects of GET73 were assessed by evaluating cell viability, cell morphology, glutamate levels and reactive oxygen species production.

Results The exposure to ethanol induced a reduction of cell viability, an alteration of cytoskeleton, a decrease in extracellular glutamate levels and an increase of reactive oxygen species production. The addiction of GET73 (1 and 10 µM) 1 h before and during chronic ethanol exposure prevented all the above ethanol-induced effects. Based on the proposed GET73 mechanism of action, the effects of mGlu5 receptor negative allosteric modulator, 2-methyl-6-(phenylethynyl)-pyridine (MPEP), on ethanol-induced reduction of cell viability were also assessed. The results indicated that the addiction of MPEP (100 µM) 1 h before and during chronic ethanol exposure prevented the ethanol-induced cell viability reduction.

Conclusion The present findings provide the first evidence that GET73 shows a neuroprotective role against ethanol-induced neurotoxicity in primary cultures of rat hippocampal neurons. Together with previous findings, these results suggest that GET73 possesses multifaceted properties thus lending further support to the significance of developing GET73 as a therapeutic tool for use in the treatment of alcohol use disorders.

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