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Sex differences in the effect of bupropion and naltrexone combination on alcohol drinking in mice (Abstract)
Sex differences in the effect of bupropion and naltrexone combination on alcohol drinking in mice
Pharmacol Biochem Behav
A fixed dose combination of bupropion (BPP) and naltrexone (NTX), Contrave®, is an FDA approved pharmacotherapy for the treatment of obesity. A recent study found that combining BPP with low-dose NTX reduced alcohol drinking in alcohol-preferring male rats. To explore potential pharmacological effects of the BPP + NTX combination on alcohol drinking, both male and female C57Bl/6J mice were tested on one-week drinking-in-the dark (DID) and three-week intermittent access (IA) models. Neuronal proopiomelanocortin (POMC) enhancer knockout (nPE-/-) mice with hypothalamic-specific deficiency of POMC, and its bioactive peptides melanocyte stimulating hormone and beta-endorphin, were used as a genetic control for the effects of the BPP + NTX. A single administration of BPP + NTX (10 mg/kg + 1 mg/kg) decreased alcohol intake after DID in C57Bl/6J males, but not females. Also in C57Bl/6J males, BPP + NTX reduced intake of the caloric reinforcer sucrose, but not the non-caloric reinforcer saccharin. In contrast, BPP + NTX had no effect on alcohol DID in nPE-/- males. Pretreatment with the selective melanocortin 4 receptor (MC4R) antagonist HS014 reversed the anti-dipsogenic effect of BPP + NTX on alcohol DID in C57Bl/6J males. In the 3-week chronic IA model, single or repeated administrations for four days of BPP + NTX reduced alcohol intake and preference in C57Bl/6J males only. The behavioral measures observed in C57Bl/6J mice provide clear evidence that BPP + NTX profoundly reduced alcohol drinking in males, but the doses tested were not effective in females. Furthermore, our results suggest a hypothalamic POMC/MC4R-dependent mechanism for the observed BPP + NTX effects on alcohol drinking in male mice.
Keywords: Alcohol; Bupropion; MC4R; Naltrexone; Sex; nPE knockout.