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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2011 Oct;36(11):2328-38. doi: 10.1038/npp.2011.121. Epub 2011 Jul 6.

Activation of group II metabotropic glutamate receptors inhibits the discriminative stimulus effects of alcohol via selective activity within the amygdala.

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  • 1Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.

Abstract

Metabotropic glutamate receptor subtypes (mGlu2/3) regulate a variety of alcohol-associated behaviors, including alcohol reinforcement, and relapse-like behavior. To date, the role of mGlu2/3 receptors in modulating the discriminative stimulus effects of alcohol has not been examined. Given that the discriminative stimulus effects of drugs are determinants of abuse liability and can influence drug seeking, we examined the contributions of mGlu2/3 receptors in modulating the discriminative stimulus effects of alcohol. In male Long-Evans rats trained to discriminate between alcohol (1 g/kg, IG) and water, the mGlu2/3 agonist LY379268 (0.3-10 mg/kg) did not produce alcohol-like stimulus effects. However, pretreatment with LY379268 (1 and 3 mg/kg; in combination with alcohol) inhibited the stimulus effects of alcohol (1 g/kg). Systemic LY379268 (3 mg/kg, i.p.) was associated with increases in neuronal activity within the amygdala, but not the nucleus accumbens, as assessed by c-Fos immunoreactivity. Intra-amygdala activation of mGlu2/3 receptors by LY379268 (6 μg) inhibited the discriminative stimulus effects of alcohol, without altering response rate. In contrast, intra-accumbens LY379268 (3 μg) profoundly reduced response rate; however, at lower LY379268 doses (0.3, 1 μg), the discriminative stimulus effects of alcohol and response rate were not altered. These data suggest that amygdala mGlu2/3 receptors have a functional role in modulating the discriminative stimulus properties of alcohol and demonstrate differential motor sensitivity to activation of mGlu2/3 receptors in the amygdala and the accumbens. Understanding the neuronal mechanisms that underlie the discriminative stimulus effects of alcohol may prove to be important for future development of pharmacotherapies for treating alcoholism.

PMID:
21734651
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3176569
Free PMC Article

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