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Adv Pharmacol. 2006;54:171-203.

From gene to behavior and back again: new perspectives on GABAA receptor subunit selectivity of alcohol actions.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, State University of New York at Binghamton, New York 13902, USA.

Abstract

gamma-Aminobutyric acid A (GABA(A)) receptors are believed to mediate a number of alcohol's behavioral actions. Because the subunit composition of GABA(A) receptors determines receptor pharmacology, behavioral sensitivity to alcohol (ethanol) may depend on which subunits are present (or absent). A number of knockout and/or transgenic mouse models have been developed (alpha1, alpha2, alpha5, alpha6, beta2, beta3, gamma2S, gamma2L, delta) and tested for behavioral sensitivity to ethanol. Here we review the current GABA(A) receptor subunit knockout and transgenic literature for ethanol sensitivity, and integrate these results into those obtained using quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis and gene expression assays. Converging evidence from these three approaches support the notion that different behavioral actions of ethanol are mediated by specific subunits, and suggest that new drugs that target specific GABA(A subunits may selectively alter some behavioral actions of ethanol without altering others. Current data sets provide stronge)st evidence for a role of alpha1 subunits in ethanol-induced loss of righting reflex and alpha5 subunits in ethanol-stimulated locomotion. Nevertheless, three-way validation is hampered by the incomplete behavioral characterization of many of the mutant mice, and additional subunits are likely to be linked to alcohol actions as behavioral testing progresses.

PMID:
17175815
[PubMed]
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