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Front Neurosci. 2018 Nov 2;12:802. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2018.00802. eCollection 2018.

METH-Induced Neurotoxicity Is Alleviated by Lactulose Pretreatment Through Suppressing Oxidative Stress and Neuroinflammation in Rat Striatum.

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Department of Toxicology, School of Public Health, Southern Medical University (Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Tropical Disease Research), Guangzhou, China.
Department of Forensic Pathology, School of Forensic Medicine, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China.


Abuse of methamphetamine (METH) results in neurological and psychiatric abnormalities. Lactulose is a poorly absorbed derivative of lactose and can effectively alleviate METH-induced neurotoxicity in rats. The present study was designed to investigate the effects of lactulose on METH-induced neurotoxicity. Rats received METH (15 mg/kg, 8 intraperitoneal injections, 12-h interval) or saline and received lactulose (5.3 g/kg, oral gavage, 12-h interval) or vehicle 2 days prior to the METH administration. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) and malondialdehyde (MDA) were measured. Protein levels of toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88), tumor necrosis factor receptor associated factor 6 (TRAF6), nuclear factor κB (NFκB), interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, cleaved caspase 3, and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1) were determined by western blotting. mRNA expressions of nuclear factor erythroid 2-relatted factor-2 (Nrf2), p62, and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) were assessed by RT-qPCR. The lactulose pretreatment decreased METH-induced cytoplasmic damage in rat livers according to histopathological observation. Compared to the control group, overproduction of ROS and MDA were observed in rat striatums in the METH alone-treated group, while the lactulose pretreatment significantly attenuated the METH-induced up-regulation of oxidative stress. The lactulose pretreatment significantly repressed over-expressions of proteins of TLR4, MyD88, TRAF6, NFκB, IL-1β, IL-6, TNF-α, cleaved caspase 3, PARP-1. The lactulose pretreatment increased mRNA expressions of Nrf2, p62, and HO-1. These findings suggest that lactulose pretreatment can alleviate METH-induced neurotoxicity through suppressing neuroinflammation and oxidative stress, which might be attributed to the activation of the Nrf2/HO-1 axis.


METH; Nrf2/HO-1 axis; lactulose; neuroinflammation; oxidative stress

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