Anhydroecgonine methyl ester (AEME), a cocaine pyrolysis product, impairs glutathione-related enzymes response and increases lipid peroxidation in the hippocampal cell culture

Crack cocaine smokers inhale, alongside with cocaine, its pyrolysis product, anhydroecgonine methyl ester (AEME). We have previously described AEME neurotoxic effect and its additive effect when co-incubated with cocaine. Our aim was to evaluate, the effect of AEME, cocaine and AEME-cocaine combination on glutathione peroxidase (GPx), glutathione reductase (GR) and glutathione S-transferase (GST) activities after 3 and 6h of exposure, periods previous to neuronal death. Lipid peroxidation was evaluated through malonaldehyde (MDA) levels at 3, 6, 24 and 48h of exposure. All treated groups reduced neuronal viability after 24h of exposure. AEME and cocaine decreased GPx, GR and GST activities after 3 and 6h, with an increase in MDA levels after 48h. AEME-cocaine combination decreased the enzymes activities after 3 and 6h, showing an additive effect in MDA levels after 48h. These data show that the glutathione-related enzymes imbalance caused by AEME, cocaine or AEME-cocaine combination exposure preceded neuronal death and lipid peroxidation. Moreover, the additive effect on lipid peroxidation observed with AEME-cocaine exposure after 48h, suggest a higher neurotoxic effect after crack cocaine use when compared to cocaine alone.
Keywords
Anhydroecgonine methyl ester;  AEME;  Crack;  Cocaine;  Oxidative stress;  Lipid peroxidation;  Malonaldehyde

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Garcia RCT, Torres LL, Dati LMM, Loureiro APM, Afeche SC, Sandoval MRL, et al. Anhydroecgonine methyl ester (AEME), a cocaine pyrolysis product, impairs glutathione-related enzymes response and increases lipid peroxidation in the hippocampal cell culture. Toxicol. Rep.. 2019 Nov;6:1223-1229. doi:10.1016/j.toxrep.2019.11.001.
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