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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2015, Article ID 157876, 8 pages
Research Article

Selective Nitric Oxide Synthase Inhibitor 7-Nitroindazole Protects against Cocaine-Induced Oxidative Stress in Rat Brain

Laboratory of “Drug Metabolism and Drug Toxicity”, Department of “Pharmacology, Pharmacotherapy and Toxicology”, Faculty of Pharmacy, Medical University of Sofia, 2 “Dunav” Street, 1000 Sofia, Bulgaria

Received 30 December 2014; Revised 24 March 2015; Accepted 26 March 2015

Academic Editor: Joern Steinert

Copyright © 2015 Vessela Vitcheva et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


One of the mechanisms involved in the development of addiction, as well as in brain toxicity, is the oxidative stress. The aim of the current study was to investigate the effects of 7-nitroindazole (7-NI), a selective inhibitor of neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS), on cocaine withdrawal and neurotoxicity in male Wistar rats. The animals were divided into four groups: control; group treated with cocaine (15 mg/kg−1, i.p., 7 days); group treated with 7-NI (25 mg/kg−1, i.p., 7 days); and a combination group (7-NI + cocaine). Cocaine repeated treatment resulted in development of physical dependence, judged by withdrawal symptoms (decreased locomotion, increased salivation and breathing rate), accompanied by an increased nNOS activity and oxidative stress. The latter was discerned by an increased formation of malondialdehyde (MDA), depletion of reduced glutathione (GSH) levels, and impairment of the enzymatic antioxidant defense system measured in whole brain. In synaptosomes, isolated from cocaine-treated rats, mitochondrial activity and GSH levels were also decreased. 7-NI administered along with cocaine not only attenuated the withdrawal, due to its nNOS inhibition, but also reversed both the GSH levels and antioxidant enzyme activities near control levels.