Effects of isoflavones on alcohol pharmacokinetics and alcohol-drinking behavior in rats
Puerarin, daidzin, and daidzein are 3 major isoflavonoid compounds isolated from Pueraria lobata, an edible vine used widely in China for various medicinal purposes. We studied the antiinebriation and the antidipsotropic effects of these antioxidants in rats. Daidzin and daidzein shortened alcohol-induced sleep time (loss of righting reflex) in rats that were given ethanol intragastrically but not in those given ethanol intraperitoneally. When daidzin was given to animals intragastrically with the ethanol solution, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was found to peak later and be lower than in control rats that were given only the ethanol solution. BACs also receded more slowly if daidzin was fed to the animals. None of the 3 isoflavonoid compounds administered orally affected liver alcohol dehydrogenase or aldehyde dehydrogenase activities, as was reported for intraperitoneal administration. Further experiments indicated that the suppression of the BAC by daidzin was due mainly to delay of stomach emptying. All 3 compounds suppressed voluntary alcohol consumption in alcohol-preferring rats. The decrease in alcohol consumption was accompanied by an increase in water intake, so that the total volume of liquid consumed daily remained unchanged. Daily food consumption and body weight gain were not affected. Alcohol preference returned to baseline levels after the isoflavonoids were discontinued. We postulate that the suppression of alcohol reinforcement produced by these compounds is mediated centrally in the brain reward pathway.
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