Send to

Choose Destination
Biochem Soc Trans. 2009 Dec;37(Pt 6):1394-8. doi: 10.1042/BST0371394.

Positive allosteric activation of GABAA receptors bi-directionally modulates hippocampal glutamate plasticity and behaviour.

Author information

Neuroscience and Neurological Disorders Program, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Toledo College of Medicine, Health Science Campus, Toledo, OH 43614, USA.


Long-term BZ (benzodiazepine) anxiolytic therapy increases the risk of physical dependence manifested as withdrawal anxiety. BZ-induced potentiation of GABA(A)R (gamma-aminobutyric acid type-A receptor) function by 1-week oral administration of FZP (flurazepam) bi-directionally modulates excitatory glutamatergic synaptic transmission in hippocampal CA1 neurons during drug withdrawal. Previous electrophysiological studies on acutely isolated and intact CA1 neurons, as well as immunofluorescence and post-embedding immunogold electron microscopy studies, suggest increased synaptic insertion of GluR (glutamate receptor) 2-lacking AMPARs (alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid receptors) in 2-day FZP-withdrawn rats. Preliminary studies indicated a similar increase in GluR1, then phospho-Ser(831)-GluR1, as well as CaMKIIalpha (Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase IIalpha), but not phospho-Thr(286)-CaMKII levels at the same time point. In our studies, whole-cell recordings in hippocampal slices revealed that AMPAR mEPSC [miniature EPSC (excitatory postsynaptic current)] amplitude was increased in 1-day FZP-withdrawn rats followed by an increase in estimated single-channel conductance in 2-day-FZP-withdrawn rats. Enhanced conductance was no longer observed in slices pre-incubated for 2 h in the CaMKII inhibitor KN-93, but not the inactive analogue KN-92. To evaluate whether CaMKII-mediated AMPA potentiation could occlude LTP (long-term potentiation), LTP was induced by TBS (theta burst stimulation) and recorded using whole-cell and extracellular techniques. LTP was induced in both groups, but only maintained for <15 min in 2-day FZP-withdrawn rats. LTP was fully restored after 7-day withdrawal. Despite the lack of LTP maintenance, impairment of object recognition, place and context was not observed in 2-day-FZP-withdrawn rats. Since L-VGCC (L-type voltage-gated calcium channel) current density was doubled on drug withdrawal and up to 2 days, Ca(2+) entry through L-VGCCs and perhaps subsequently through Ca(2+)-permeable AMPARs are proposed to be responsible for enhanced CaMKIIalpha levels and AMPAR potentiation. Mechanisms associated with several different models of activity-dependent plasticity may underlie BZ physical dependence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center