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      Acetate as an active metabolite of ethanol: studies of locomotion, loss of righting reflex, and anxiety in rodents

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          It has been postulated that a number of the central effects of ethanol are mediated via ethanol metabolites: acetaldehyde and acetate. Ethanol is known to produce a large variety of behavioral actions such anxiolysis, narcosis, and modulation of locomotion. Acetaldehyde contributes to some of those effects although the contribution of acetate is less known. In the present studies, rats and mice were used to assess the acute and chronic effects of acetate after central or peripheral administration. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were used for the comparison between central (intraventricular, ICV) and peripheral (intraperitoneal, IP) administration of acute doses of acetate on locomotion. CD1 male mice were used to study acute IP effects of acetate on locomotion, and also the effects of chronic oral consumption of acetate (0, 500, or 1000 mg/l, during 7, 15, 30, or 60 days) on ethanol- (1.0, 2.0, 4.0, or 4.5 g/kg, IP) induced locomotion, anxiolysis, and loss of righting reflex (LORR). In rats, ICV acetate (0.7–2.8 μmoles) reduced spontaneous locomotion at doses that, in the case of ethanol and acetaldehyde, had previously been shown to stimulate locomotion. Peripheral acute administration of acetate also suppressed locomotion in rats (25–100 mg/kg), but not in mice. In addition, although chronic administration of acetate during 15 days did not have an effect on spontaneous locomotion in an open field, it blocked ethanol-induced locomotion. However, ethanol-induced anxiolysis was not affected by chronic administration of acetate. Chronic consumption of acetate (up to 60 days) did not have an effect on latency to, or duration of LORR induced by ethanol, but significantly increased the number of mice that did not achieve LORR. The present work provides new evidence supporting the hypothesis that acetate should be considered a centrally-active metabolite of ethanol that contributes to some behavioral effects of this alcohol, such as motor suppression.

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          Most cited references 42

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          Rewarding, stimulant, and sedative alcohol responses and relationship to future binge drinking.

          Excessive consumption of alcohol is a major problem in the United States and abroad. Despite many years of study, it is unclear why some individuals drink alcohol excessively while others do not. It has been postulated that either lower or greater acute responses to alcohol, or both, depending on the limb of the breath alcohol concentration curve, contribute to propensity for alcohol misuse. To prospectively assess the relationship of acute alcohol responses to future binge drinking. Within-subject, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multidose laboratory alcohol challenge study with intensive follow-up. Each participant completed 3 randomized sessions examining responses to a high (0.8 g/kg) and low (0.4 g/kg) alcohol dose and placebo, followed by quarterly assessments for 2 years examining drinking behaviors and alcohol diagnoses. Participants recruited from the community. High-risk heavy social drinkers aged 21 to 35 years who habitually engage in weekly binge drinking (n = 104) and light drinker controls (n = 86). We conducted 570 laboratory sessions with a subsequent 99.1% follow-up (1506 of 1520). Biphasic Alcohol Effects Scale, Drug Effects Questionnaire, cortisol response, Timeline Follow-Back, Drinker Inventory of Consequences-Recent, and DSM-IV alcohol abuse and dependence. Alcohol produced greater stimulant and rewarding (liking and wanting) responses and lower sedative and cortisol responses in heavy vs light drinkers. Among the heavy drinkers, greater positive effects and lower sedative effects after alcohol consumption predicted increased binge drinking frequency during follow-up. In turn, greater frequency of binge drinking during follow-up was associated with greater likelihood of meeting diagnostic criteria for alcohol abuse and dependence. The widely held low level response theory and differentiator model should be revised: in high-risk drinkers, stimulant and rewarding alcohol responses even at peak breath alcohol concentrations are important predictors of future alcohol problems. Identifier: NCT00961792.
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            Enzymatic mechanisms of ethanol oxidation in the brain.

            The exact enzymatic mechanisms of ethanol oxidation in the brain are still unclear. The catalase-mediated oxidation of ethanol was demonstrated in rat brain using incubation of brain homogenates with catalase inhibitors. The role of the alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) or cytochrome P450-dependent system in this process is possible, but has not been confirmed. The objective of the study was to determine the contribution of the different enzymatic pathways to ethanol oxidation in brain homogenates from mice and rats. Three approaches were used to investigate the enzymatic mechanisms of ethanol oxidation in the brain of rats and mice: (1) preincubation of brain homogenates with inhibitors of the ethanol-metabolizing enzymes (catalase, CYP2E1, ADH, and ALDH); (2) utilization of mice with genetic deficiency in ethanol-metabolizing enzymes (catalase, CYP2E1, or both enzymes); and (3) determination of ethanol oxidation in brain subcellular fractions known to have differential activity of ethanol-metabolizing enzymes. The ethanol-derived acetaldehyde (AC) and acetate were determined in brain samples by gas chromatography. The catalase inhibitors sodium azide (5 mM) and aminotriazole (5 mM) as well as CYP2E1 inhibitors diallyl sulfide (2 mM) and beta-phenethyl isothiocyanate (0.1 mM) lowered significantly the accumulation of the ethanol-derived AC and acetate in brain homogenates. The ADH inhibitor 4-methyl pyrazole (5 mM) significantly decreased the acetate but not the AC accumulation. Ethanol-derived AC accumulation in brain homogenates of acatalasemic mice was 47% of the control value, 91% in CYP2E1-null mice, and 24% in double mutants (with deficiency of both catalase and CYP2E1). The highest levels of ethanol oxidation were found in microsomal and peroxisomal subcellular brain fractions, where CYP2E1 and catalase are located, respectively. Catalase is the key enzyme of ethanol oxidation in the brain of rodents: it may be responsible for about 60% of the process. CYP2E1 plays an important role in ethanol oxidation in the rodent brains. Alcohol dehydrogenase plays a minor role, if any, in this process. Aldehyde dehydrogenase plays the crucial role in the further oxidation of ethanol-derived AC in the brain homogenates.
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              Piecing together the puzzle of acetaldehyde as a neuroactive agent.

              Mainly known for its more famous parent compound, ethanol, acetaldehyde was first studied in the 1940s, but then research interest in this compound waned. However, in the last two decades, research on acetaldehyde has seen a revitalized and uninterrupted interest. Acetaldehyde, per se, and as a product of ethanol metabolism, is responsible for many pharmacological effects which are not clearly distinguishable from those of its parent compound, ethanol. Consequently, the most recent advances in acetaldehyde's psychopharmacology have been inspired by the experimental approach to test the hypothesis that some of the effects of ethanol are mediated by acetaldehyde and, in this regard, the characterization of metabolic pathways for ethanol and the localization within discrete brain regions of these effects have revitalized the interest on the role of acetaldehyde in ethanol's central effects. Here we present and discuss a wealth of experimental evidence that converges to suggest that acetaldehyde is an intrinsically active compound, is metabolically generated in the brain and, finally, mediates many of the psychopharmacological properties of ethanol. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                Front Behav Neurosci
                Front Behav Neurosci
                Front. Behav. Neurosci.
                Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                10 July 2013
                : 7
                1Àrea de Psicobiologia, Campus Riu Sec, Universitat Jaume I Castelló, Spain
                2Department of Psychology, Quinnipiac University Hamden, CT, USA
                3Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut Storrs, CT, USA
                Author notes

                Edited by: Elio Acquas, University of Cagliari, Italy

                Reviewed by: Fabrício A. Pamplona, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil; Elio Acquas, University of Cagliari, Italy; Sergey M. Zimatkin, Grodno State Medical University, Belarus

                *Correspondence: Mercè Correa, Àrea de Psicobiologia, Campus Riu Sec, Universitat Jaume I, Avda. Sos Baynat s/n, 12071 Castelló, Spain e-mail: correa@
                Copyright © 2013 Pardo, Betz, San Miguel, López-Cruz, Salamone and Correa.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

                Page count
                Figures: 7, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 44, Pages: 10, Words: 7674
                Original Research Article


                narcosis, alcohol metabolism, anxiety, ataxia, acetate, acetaldehyde


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