Marialaura Pani

Università degli studi di Cagliari, Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy

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Publications (16)41.02 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Background: It has been proposed that ethanol intake and consumption of sweet tasting solutions are positively correlated in rodents. Experiment 1 of the present study investigated whether selectively bred ethanol-preferring (sP) and -nonpreferring (sNP) rats differed, consistently with the above hypothesis, as to saccharin intake and preference. Experiment 2 evaluated whether saccharin addition to the ethanol solution, likely resulting in a highly palatable fluid, would result in an increase in voluntary ethanol intake in sP rats.Methods: The saccharin solution was offered, in free choice with water, at a fixed concentration of 1 giliter for 6 consecutive days in Experiment 1A or at ascending concentrations (0.002 to 16.4 g/liter, doubling the concentration every day) in Experiment 1B. In Experiment 2, 1 g/liter, doubling the concentration every day) in Experiment 1B. In Experiment 2, 1 g/liter saccharin was added to the standard 10% ethanol solution and offered to sP rats in free choice with water for 7 consecutive days.Results: In both Experiments 1A and 1B, sP and sNP rats showed avidity for the saccharin solution with marginal line difference in saccharin intake and preference. In Experiment 2, daily ethanol intake remained stable at baseline levels (6–7 g/kg), irrespective of the saccharin addition to the ethanol solution.Conclusions: The results of Experiments 1A and 1B suggest that saccharin drinking behavior in sNP rats deviates from the hypothesis that saccharin and ethanol intakes may co-vary; thus, at least in sNP rats, saccharin and ethanol intakes do not appear to be influenced by the same genetic factors. The results of Experiment 2 provide further support to the existence of a central set-point mechanism that regulates daily ethanol intake in sP rats, likely based on the pharmacological effects of ethanol.
    Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research 05/2006; 24(1):24 - 29. · 3.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The present study investigated the effect of the cannabinoid CB(1) receptor antagonist, SR 141716 (N-piperidino-5-(4-chlorophenyl)-1-(2,4-dichlorophenyl)-4-methyl-3-pyrazole-carboxamide), on alcohol deprivation effect (i.e. the temporary increase in alcohol intake after a period of alcohol withdrawal) in Sardinian alcohol-preferring (sP) rats. As expected, alcohol-deprived rats virtually doubled voluntary alcohol intake during the first hour of re-access. Acute administration of SR 141716 (0, 0.3, 1 and 3 mg/kg, i.p.) completely abolished the alcohol deprivation effect. These results suggest that the cannabinoid CB(1) receptor is part of the neural substrate mediating the alcohol deprivation effect and that SR 141716 may possess anti-relapse properties.
    European Journal of Pharmacology 06/2002; 443(1-3):95-7. · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The exogenous administration of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), a constituent of the mammalian brain where it likely functions as a neurotransmitter or a neuromodulator, exerts a number of pharmacological effects, including sedation and hypnosis. The present paper describes a procedure for selective breeding of two rat lines which markedly differ in sensitivity to the sedative/hypnotic effect of GHB. Selective breeding originated from Wistar rats showing opposite sensitivity to the sedative/hypnotic effect of 1 g/kg GHB (i.p.). 'Sensitive' Wistar rats, defined as those individuals displaying values of r = sleep time/onset greater than the upper 15th percentile, were mated to generate the GHB-sensitive (GHB-S) line; conversely, 'resistant' Wistar rats (r-values lower than the lower 15th percentile) were mated to generate the GHB-resistant (GHB-R) line. Upper and lower 15th percentiles were also used to establish the selection cut-offs and criteria for rats of subsequent generations. Specifically, r-values of GHB-S rats were required to be r > or =8 on two separate tests with GHB; r-values of GHB-R rats were required to be r < or =2 on two separate tests with GHB. In each of the three generations produced to date, GHB-S rats showed significantly shorter onset, longer sleep times and greater r-scores than GHB-R rats. The selective breeding of GHB-S and GHB-R rats: (a) suggests that sensitivity to GHB is under genetic control, and (b) may constitute a unique model for investigation of the physiological function of GHB.
    Brain Research Protocols 09/2001; 8(1):74-81. · 1.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Two Wistar-derived rat lines, one sensitive (GHB-S) and the other resistant (GHB-R) to the anesthetic effect of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid (GHB), have been selectively bred. GHB-S and GHB-R rats were also sensitive and resistant, respectively, to the anesthetic effect of baclofen, the prototype GABA(B) receptor agonist, suggesting that they may be useful to elucidate not only the role of endogenous GHB but also that of GABA(B) receptors in sleep and anesthesia.
    Brain Research 06/2001; 902(1):127-30. · 2.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The present study was conducted to evaluate the effect of low doses of ethanol on motor activity in selectively bred Sardinian alcohol-preferring (sP) and Sardinian alcohol-nonpreferring (sNP) rats. Ethanol was acutely administered at the doses of 0, 0.25, and 0.5 g/kg (i.p.) immediately before rat exposure to an open-field arena for 15 min. The number of square crossings, used as index of motor activity, was significantly lower in saline-treated sP than in saline-treated sNP rats, suggestive of a genetically determined higher emotional state in sP than in sNP rats. Ethanol administration resulted in a dose-dependent, significant increase in the number of square crossings in sP rats, whereas it was completely ineffective in sNP rats. These results suggest to us that a positive relationship exists between ethanol preference and ethanol-induced motor stimulation in sP/sNP rat lines.
    Alcohol 03/2001; 23(2):123-6. · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Clinical research has proposed that initial sensitivity to ethanol may be negatively correlated with levels of subsequent ethanol intake; consistently, alcohol-preferring P rats were found to be less sensitive to the ataxic and sedative/hypnotic effects of ethanol than -nonpreferring NP rats. The present study investigated the initial sensitivity to the ataxic and sedative/hypnotic effects of ethanol and to the sedative/hypnotic effects of pentobarbital and diazepam in selectively bred Sardinian alcohol-preferring sP and -nonpreferring sNP rats. In experiment 1, time to lose (onset) and regain (sleep time) the righting reflex after the acute intraperitoneal (ip) administration of 3.0 and 3.5 g/kg ethanol were measured in sP and sNP rats. In experiment 2, sP and sNP rats were required to perform a motor coordination task on a Rota-Rod after the acute intragastric administration of 2.0, 2.5, and 3.0 g/kg ethanol. Experiment 3 assessed onset and sleep time in sP and sNP rats after the acute injection of pentobarbital (40 mg/kg; ip) and diazepam (15 and 20 mg/kg; ip). In experiment 1, sP rats took shorter times to lose the righting reflex and regained this reflex over longer periods of time and at lower blood ethanol levels than sNP rats. In experiment 2, ethanol affected motor coordination to a greater extent in sP than sNP rats. In contrast, results from experiment 3 showed that sP and sNP rats were not differentially sensitive to the sedative/hypnotic effects of pentobarbital and diazepam. The results of experiments 1 and 2 suggest that sP rats possess a genetically determined, greater sensitivity to the motor impairing and sedative/hypnotic effects of ethanol than sNP rats. Although caution should be adopted before hypothesizing any comparison to humans, these results may feature sP rats as an experimental model of those subsets of human alcoholics with initial high sensitivity to ethanol challenges. Finally, the results of experiment 3 suggest a minimal involvement of the benzodiazepine and barbiturate recognition sites in the differential sensitivity to ethanol of sP and sNP rats.
    Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research 12/2000; 24(11):1603-8. · 3.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background and Objectives Clinical research has proposed that initial sensitivity to ethanol may be negatively correlated with levels of subsequent ethanol intake; consistently, alcohol-preferring P rats were found to be less sensitive to the ataxic and sedative/hypnotic effects of ethanol than -nonpreferring NP rats. The present study investigated the initial sensitivity to the ataxic and sedative/hypnotic effects of ethanol and to the sedative/hypnotic effects of pentobarbital and diazepam in selectively bred Sardinian alcohol-preferring sP and -nonpreferring sNP rats.Methods: In experiment 1, time to lose (onset) and regain (sleep time) the righting reflex after the acute intraperitoneal (ip) administration of 3.0 and 3.5 g/kg ethanol were measured in sP and sNP rats. In experiment 2, sP and sNP rats were required to perform a motor coordination task on a Rota-Rod after the acute intragastric administration of 2.0, 2.5, and 3.0 g/kg ethanol. Experiment 3 assessed onset and sleep time in sP and sNP rats after the acute injection of pentobarbital (40 mg/kg; ip) and diazepam (15 and 20 mg/kg; ip).Results: In experiment 1, sP rats took shorter times to lose the righting reflex and regained this reflex over longer periods of time and at lower blood ethanol levels than sNP rats. In experiment 2, ethanol affected motor coordination to a greater extent in sP than sNP rats. In contrast, results from experiment 3 showed that sP and sNP rats were not differentially sensitive to the sedative/hypnotic effects of pentobarbital and diazepam.Conclusions: The results of experiments 1 and 2 suggest that sP rats possess a genetically determined, greater sensitivity to the motor impairing and sedative/hypnotic effects of ethanol than sNP rats. Although caution should be adopted before hypothesizing any comparison to humans, these results may feature sP rats as an experimental model of those subsets of human alcoholics with initial high sensitivity to ethanol challenges. Finally, the results of experiment 3 suggest a minimal involvement of the benzodiazepine and barbiturate recognition sites in the differential sensitivity to ethanol of sP and sNP rats.
    Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research 10/2000; 24(11):1603 - 1608. · 3.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The present paper briefly reviews the most relevant experimental data on the reducing effect of some medicinal herbs on voluntary alcohol intake in animal models of alcoholism. Pueraria lobata, Tabernanthe iboga, Panax ginseng, Salvia miltiorrhiza and Hypericum perforatum proved to be effective in decreasing alcohol consumption. Reduction of alcohol absorption from the gastrointestinal system appears to be a common feature among most of the above plants. These data suggest that medicinal plants may constitute novel and effective pharmacotherapies for alcoholism.
    Fitoterapia 09/2000; 71 Suppl 1:S38-42. · 2.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alcohol deprivation effect (ADE), defined as a temporary increase in voluntary alcohol intake following a period of alcohol abstinence, was evaluated in selectively bred Sardinian alcohol-preferring (sP) rats. Alcohol was initially offered in free choice with water for 35 consecutive days (predeprivation phase). Subsequently, one group of rats was deprived of alcohol for 1, 3, 7, 15, 30, 90 or 180 consecutive days, while the second group had continuous access to alcohol (deprivation phase). Once alcohol was re-presented, alcohol intake in alcohol-deprived rats was recorded 1 and 24 h after alcohol re-presentation and compared to that monitored in alcohol-nondeprived rats over the same time periods (postdeprivation phase). Alcohol deprivation for 3 to 30 days resulted in a significant increase in voluntary alcohol intake only in the first hour of re-access. These results demonstrate the development of ADE in sP rats. However, the rapid return of alcohol intake to control levels is discussed as evidence in favor of a set-point mechanism capable of regulating alcohol-drinking behavior in sP rats.
    Alcohol 06/2000; · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The possible presence of a functional interaction in the constipating effect of opioids and cannabinoids has been assessed.We have measured the ability of the opioid receptor antagonist, naloxone, to antagonize the inhibitory effect of the cannabinoid receptor agonist, WIN 55,212-2, and also, the ability of the cannabinoid CB1-receptor antagonist, SR 141716A, to antagonize the inhibitory effect of morphine, on transit of an orally administered, non-absorbable marker (carmine) in the mouse small intestine.Naloxone failed to alter the reducing effect of WIN 55,212-2 on the propulsive activity; conversely, pretreatment with SR 141716A did not prevent morphine-induced inhibition of marker transit.These results suggest that the constipating effect of opioids and cannabinoids occur through independent and unrelated mechanisms.We assessed also the possible existence of an interaction between CB1 and dopamine D2 receptor systems. The effect of the D2-receptor antagonist, S(-)-sulpiride, on the inhibiting effect of WIN 55,212-2 and of SR 141716A on the inhibiting effect of the D2 agonist, bromocriptine, on intestinal propulsion were assessed. Combination of 50 mg kg−1S(-)-sulpiride and 0.5 mg kg−1 WIN 55,212-2, but not higher doses, resulted in the blockade of WIN 55,212-2 effect; similarly, combination of 0.1 mg kg−1 SR 141716A abolished bromocriptine-induced decrease in intestinal motility.These results suggest the existence of a functional interaction between the CB1 and D2 receptors in mouse intestinal motility.
    Pharmacy and Pharmacology Communications. 05/2000; 6(6):287 - 291.
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    ABSTRACT: Treatment with gamma-hydroxybutyric acid has been reported to effectively decrease alcohol craving and consumption as well as alcohol withdrawal symptoms in alcoholics. We describe the results of animal studies demonstrating the ability of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid to reduce (1) the severity of ethanol withdrawal signs in rats rendered physically dependent on ethanol and (2) voluntary ethanol intake in selectively bred Sardinian alcohol-preferring rats. Furthermore, we review experimental data suggesting that gamma-hydroxybutyric acid and ethanol have several pharmacological effects in common. Relevant similarities are: (1) stimulation of firing rate of dopaminergic neurons and dopamine release in specific rat brain areas; (2) development of cross-tolerance to the motor-impairing effects after repeated administration in rats; 3) abuse potential, as indicated by self-administration of pharmacologically relevant doses of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid in rats and mice; (4) induction of anxiolytic effects in rats; and (5) induction of similar discriminative stimulus effects, as evidenced by symmetrical generalization in a drug discrimination study in rats. These lines of evidence are discussed in relation to gamma-hydroxybutyric acid exerting its antialcohol effects by a substitution mechanism.
    Alcohol 05/2000; 20(3):271-6. · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The present paper reviews the drug discrimination studies, both from the literature and from this laboratory, conducted to investigate the pharmacological profile of the discriminative stimulus effects of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid. Collectively, the results of these studies suggest that: (1) the discriminative stimulus effects of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid are composed of different cues, each one being the effect of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid on a specific receptor system; (2) the proportion of each component cue varies as the training dose of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid is increased; (3) the gamma-aminobutyric acid B-mediated cue is a major ingredient of the mixed stimulus of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, but it is more prominent at high training doses than at low training doses of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid; and (4) positive modulation of the gamma-aminobutyric acid A receptor is a relevant part of the discriminative stimulus effects of low gamma-hydroxybutyric acid doses. Finally, data indicating symmetrical generalization between the discriminative stimulus effects of a specific range of doses of gamma-hydroxybutyric acid and those of ethanol are discussed in regard to their further support of the hypothesis that gamma-hydroxybutyric acid may exert its antialcohol effects through a substitution mechanism.
    Alcohol 05/2000; 20(3):237-45. · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: It has been proposed that ethanol intake and consumption of sweet tasting solutions are positively correlated in rodents. Experiment 1 of the present study investigated whether selectively bred ethanol-preferring (sP) and -nonpreferring (sNP) rats differed, consistently with the above hypothesis, as to saccharin intake and preference. Experiment 2 evaluated whether saccharin addition to the ethanol solution, likely resulting in a highly palatable fluid, would result in an increase in voluntary ethanol intake in sP rats. The saccharin solution was offered, in free choice with water, at a fixed concentration of 1 g/liter for 6 consecutive days in Experiment 1A or at ascending concentrations (0.002 to 16.4 g/liter, doubling the concentration every day) in Experiment 1B. In Experiment 2, 1 g/liter saccharin was added to the standard 10% ethanol solution and offered to sP rats in free choice with water for 7 consecutive days. In both Experiments 1A and 1B, sP and sNP rats showed avidity for the saccharin solution with marginal line difference in saccharin intake and preference. In Experiment 2, daily ethanol intake remained stable at baseline levels (6-7 g/kg), irrespective of the saccharin addition to the ethanol solution. The results of Experiments 1A and 1B suggest that saccharin drinking behavior in sNP rats deviates from the hypothesis that saccharin and ethanol intakes may co-vary; thus, at least in sNP rats, saccharin and ethanol intakes do not appear to be influenced by the same genetic factors. The results of Experiment 2 provide further support to the existence of a central set-point mechanism that regulates daily ethanol intake in sP rats, likely based on the pharmacological effects of ethanol.
    Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research 02/2000; 24(1):24-9. · 3.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The similarities between the pharmacological effects of the gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor agonist, baclofen, and the alcohol-substituting agent, gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, led us to investigate whether baclofen was capable of reducing (a) ethanol withdrawal syndrome in ethanol-dependent rats and (b) voluntary ethanol intake in ethanol-preferring rats. In experiment 1, Wistar rats were rendered physically dependent on ethanol by the repeated administration of intoxicating doses of ethanol for 6 consecutive days. Baclofen was acutely administered intraperitoneally at doses of 10, 20, and 40 mg/kg. In experiment 2, baclofen (0, 2.5, 5, and 10 mg/kg, intraperitoneally) was administered once a day for 14 consecutive days to ethanol-preferring sP rats that had continuous access to ethanol (10%, v/v) and water under the two-bottle free choice regimen. In experiment 1, baclofen dose-dependently decreased the intensity of ethanol withdrawal signs; furthermore, 20 mg/kg of baclofen protected from audiogenic seizures in ethanol-withdrawn rats. In experiment 2, baclofen selectively and dose-dependently reduced voluntary ethanol intake; a compensatory increase in water intake left total fluid intake virtually unchanged. These results are in close agreement with those of a preliminary clinical study and suggest that baclofen may constitute a novel therapeutic agent for alcoholism.
    Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research 02/2000; 24(1):58-66. · 3.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: The similarities between the pharmacological effects of the γ-aminobutyric acid receptor agonist, baclofen, and the alcohol-substituting agent, γ-hydroxybutyric acid, led us to investigate whether baclofen was capable of reducing (a) ethanol withdrawal syndrome in ethanol-dependent rats and (b) voluntary ethanol intake in ethanol-preferring rats.Methods: In experiment 1, Wistar rats were rendered physically dependent on ethanol by the repeated administration of intoxicating doses of ethanol for 6 consecutive days. Baclofen was acutely administered intraperitoneally at doses of 10, 20, and 40 mg/kg. In experiment 2, baclofen (0, 2.5, 5, and 10 mg/kg, intraperitoneally) was administered once a day for 14 consecutive days to ethanol-preferring sP rats that had continuous access to ethanol (10%, v/v) and water under the two-bottle free choice regimen.Results: In experiment 1, baclofen dose-dependently decreased the intensity of ethanol withdrawal signs; furthermore, 20 mg/kg of baclofen protected from audiogenic seizures in ethanol-withdrawn rats. In experiment 2, baclofen selectively and dose-dependently reduced voluntary ethanol intake; a compensatory increase in water intake left total fluid intake virtually unchanged.Conclusions: These results are in close agreement with those of a preliminary clinical study and suggest that baclofen may constitute a novel therapeutic agent for alcoholism.
    Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research 12/1999; 24(1):58 - 66. · 3.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The present study investigated the effect of the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)(B) receptor agonists, baclofen and CGP 44532, on the acquisition of alcohol drinking behaviour in selectively bred Sardinian alcohol-preferring (sP) rats. Baclofen [0, 1 and 3 mg/kg, intraperitoneally (i.p.)] and CGP 44532 (0, 0.1, 0.3 and 1 mg/kg, i.p.) were administered immediately before alcohol presentation to alcohol-naive sP rats. Alcohol was offered under the two-bottle free-choice regimen with unlimited access for 24 h/day. Drug treatment was repeated once daily for 10 consecutive days. Baclofen and CGP 44532, dose-dependently and with comparable efficacy, suppressed alcohol intake; compensatory increases in water intake left total fluid intakes virtually unchanged. These results demonstrate that baclofen and CGP 44532 prevent the acquisition of alcohol drinking behaviour in sP rats, and suggest the involvement of the GABA(B) receptor in the mechanisms underlying the disclosure and experience of the reinforcing properties of alcohol in this rat line.
    Alcohol and Alcoholism 37(5):499-503. · 1.96 Impact Factor