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J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2005 Nov;315(2):590-600. Epub 2005 Jul 13.

The metabotropic glutamate 5 receptor antagonist 3-[(2-methyl-1,3-thiazol-4-yl)ethynyl]-pyridine reduces ethanol self-administration in multiple strains of alcohol-preferring rats and regulates olfactory glutamatergic systems.

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Howard Florey Institute, Royal Parade, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


The metabotropic glutamate 5 receptor (mGlu5) receptor has been implicated as having a role in pain modulation, anxiety, and depression, as well as drug-seeking behavior. In the present study, we examined the effect of the selective mGlu5 receptor antagonist 3-[(2-methyl-1,3-thiazol-4-yl)ethynyl]-pyridine (MTEP) on operant ethanol self-administration by two strains of rats, the Fawn-Hooded (FH) rat and the inbred alcohol-preferring (iP) rat. MTEP (2 mg/kg i.p.) caused a significant reduction in responding for ethanol by both strains of rats; however, in the iP rats, MTEP also induced apparent sedation at this dose, although still reduced alcohol responding at lower doses. Chronic MTEP (2 mg/kg/day) caused a significant reduction in ethanol consumption by FH rats in a two-bottle preference test; however, chronic treatment with this dose had no effect on anxiety-like behavior or depressive-like behavior in FH rats, suggesting the dose used was subthreshold for anxiolytic or antidepressive-like effects. Finally, repeated dosing with MTEP (2 mg/kg i.p.) caused significant reductions in expression of the mRNA encoding the NR1 subunit of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor and the GluR2 subunit of the alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionate receptor in the cingulate cortex. A significant decrease in NR1 expression also occurred in the piriform cortex. Chronic MTEP also caused a significant decrease in mGlu5 gene expression and a significant increase in dopamine transporter and dopamine D(2)-like receptor binding within the olfactory tubercle. Collectively, these data suggest that MTEP can reduce alcohol-seeking behavior in different rodent models of alcoholism, and this effect is associated with regulation of cortical glutamate systems, particularly those in olfactory-related regions.

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