Depression, microbiota and alcohol use disorder: the gut connection
Neuroinflammation is a complex process involved in the physiopathology of many central nervous system diseases, including addiction. Alcohol abuse is characterized by induction of peripheral inflammation and neuroinflammation, which hallmark is the activation of innate immunity toll-like receptors 4 (TLR4). In the last years, lipid transmitters have generated attention as modulators of parts of the addictive process. Specifically, the bioactive lipid oleoylethanolamide (OEA), which is an endogenous acylethanolamide, has shown a beneficial profile for alcohol abuse. Exogenous administration of OEA blocks the alcohol-induced TLR4-mediated pro-inflammatory cascade, reducing the release of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines, oxidative and nitrosative stress, and ultimately, preventing the neural damage in frontal cortex of rodents. The mechanisms of action of OEA will be discussed, including a protective action in the intestinal barrier to prevent leakage of microbiota-derived products into the blood stream.