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Involvement of the autofagic process in the exposure of hypocamphal neurons to anidroecgonine methyl ester, cocaine pyrolysis product

Grant number: 16/24863-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): April 01, 2017
Effective date (End): December 31, 2017
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Pharmacy - Toxicological Analysis
Principal Investigator:Tania Marcourakis
Grantee:Sara de Souza Prates
Host Institution: Faculdade de Ciências Farmacêuticas (FCF). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Cocaine (COC), a drug derived from coca leaves (Erythroxylon coca) is found in two chemical forms for use: cocaine hydrochloride, known as "powder", used intranasally or intravenously, and the base form, known as Crack, used through smoke. The process of burning the crack stones generates a product called anhydroecgonine methyl ester (AEME), which is inhaled along with the volatilized cocaine and generates an intense euphoric effect within 3-5 minutes after use. It is known that chronic users of cocaine have cognitive dysfunctions with impairment of memory and attention, as well as social problems. Such dysfunctions may occur due to the death of neurons, especially in the hippocampus region. It is known that cell death can occur in different ways, which failure in the autophagic process is one of them. Considering that cocaine may promote cell death with the involvement of the autophagic process and there are structural similarities to the AEME molecule, it is suggested that autophagy may also be involved in the AEME neurotoxicity. Thus, the aim of this project is quantify LC3II and p62 proteins by western blotting, investigate the presence of acid autophagic vesicles by immunofluorescence and flow cytometry with acridine orange, in primary culture of hippocampal neurons exposed to 2mM cocaine, 1mM AEME and association of both, for 3, 6 and 12 hours. (AU)

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