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Neuroscientist. 2004 Aug;10(4):325-36.

Signaling cascades regulating NMDA receptor sensitivity to ethanol.

Author information

  • Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center, Emeryville 94608, USA. dorit@itsa.ucsf.edu


One of the major targets for ethanol (alcohol) in the brain is the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, a glutamate-gated ion channel. Intriguingly, the effects of ethanol on the NMDA receptor are not homogeneous throughout the brain. This review focuses on recent studies revealing molecular mechanisms that mediate the actions of ethanol on the NMDA receptor in different brain regions via changes in NMDA receptor phosphorylation and compartmentalization. Specifically, the role of the scaffolding protein RACK1 and the regulatory protein DARPP-32 in mediating the distinct effects of ethanol is presented.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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