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Hypothesis and Theory ARTICLE

Front. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnins.2020.589897

Single low dose of cocaine - structural brain injury without metabolic and behavioral changes Provisionally accepted The final, formatted version of the article will be published soon. Notify me

  • 1Sao Francisco University, Brazil
  • 2Programme Stricto Sensu in Health Science, Sao Francisco University Medical School, Brazil
  • 3Faculty of Sciences and Technology, University of Coimbra, Portugal
  • 4Institute of Biophysics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, Portugal
  • 5Coimbra Institute for Clinical and Biomedical Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, Portugal
  • 6Center for Innovation in Biomedicine and Biotechnology, University of Coimbra, Portugal
  • 7Department of Physics, University of Aveiro, Portugal
  • 8Radiation Imaging Technologies Lda (RI-TE), Portugal
  • 9Institute of Nanostructures, Nanomodeling and Nanofabrication, Department of Physics, University of Aveiro, Portugal
  • 10São Francisco University Medical School, Brazil
  • 11Institute of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, Portugal
  • 12Programme Stricto Sensu in Health Science, Sao Francisco University Medical School, Brazil

Chronic cocaine use has been shown to lead to neurotoxicity in rodents and humans, being associated with high morbidity and mortality rates. However, recreational use, which may lead to addictive behavior, is often neglected. This occurs, in part, due to the belief that exposure to low doses of cocaine comes with no brain damage risk. Cocaine addicts have shown glucose metabolism changes related to dopamine brain activity and reduced volume of striatal grey matter. This work aims to evaluate the morphological brain changes underlying metabolic and locomotor behavioral outcome, in response to a single low dose of cocaine in a preclinical study. In this context, a Balb-c mice model has been chosen and animals were injected with a single dose of cocaine (0.5 mg/kg). Control animals were injected with saline. A behavioral test, Positron Emission Tomography (PET) imaging and anatomopathological studies were conducted with this low dose of cocaine, to study functional, metabolic, and morphological brain changes, respectively. Animals exposed to this cocaine dose showed similar open field activity and brain metabolic activity compared to controls. However, histological analysis showed alterations in the Prefrontal Cortex and Hippocampus of mice exposed to the cocaine. For the first time, it has been demonstrated that a single low dose of cocaine, which is devoid of locomotor behavioral and brain metabolic changes, can induce structural damage. These brain changes must always be considered regardless of the dosage used. It is essential to alert the population even against the consumption of low doses of cocaine.

Keywords: Cocaine, brain damage, Metabolic imaging, Histological change, behavioiur

Received: 31 Jul 2020; Accepted: 15 Dec 2020.

Copyright: © 2020 NICOLUCCI, Pais, Santos, Ribeiro, Encarnação, Silva, Castro, Correia, Veloso, Reis, Lopes, Botelho, Pereira and PRIOLLI. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. DENISE G. PRIOLLI, Programme Stricto Sensu in Health Science, Sao Francisco University Medical School, Bragança Paulista, Brazil, denise.priolli@usf.edu.br