Cathinone is a potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulant found in khat leaves. Cathinone and synthetic cathinone have become popular recreational drugs in recent years, commonly marked as "legal highs". Pseudoephedrine more commonly known as cathine closely related to phenyl alkylamines that have been isolated from the Catha edulis "khat". The present study aimed to examine the potency differences between cathinone, khat extract and pseudoephedrine through evaluating the main brain oxidative stress biomarkers and pro-inflammatory cytokines. The mice were divided into four groups according to oral treatments for two weeks as: 1- control, 2- khat methanol extract (500 mg/kg bwt) -3- cathinone (1.6 mg/kg bwt) and 4- pseudoephedrine (10 mg/kg bwt) animals decapitated after two intervals, one and two weeks of treatments and whole brain tissues used for determination of total glutathione (GSH), oxidized glutathione (GSSG), GSH/GSSG ratio, nitric oxide (NO), calcium ions, uric acid, malondialdhyde (MDA), cytochrome P450 (CYP 450), interleukin 1 β (IL1β), interleukin 6 (IL6), tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα), and cyclooxygenase 2 (COX2). The results revealed an increase in oxidative stress and brain cytokines through increasing the investigated parameters and decreasing of GSH, GSH/GSSG ratio and Ca in treated groups in comparison with the control. The results suggested the responsibility of treatments on the pathophysiological changes in brain tissues that related to the existed oxidative stress and cytokines.
Key words: Khat, cathinone, pseudoephdrine, cytokines, oxidative stress.
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