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Channels (Austin). 2011 May-Jun;5(3):205-9. Epub 2011 May 1.

Ethanol-mediated long-lasting adaptations of the NR2B-containing NMDA receptors in the dorsomedial striatum.

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Ernest Gallo Research Center, University of California, San Francisco, Emeryville, CA, USA.


We recently found that ethanol-induced long-term facilitation (LTF) of NMDAR activity is mediated by NR2B-NMDARs and is observed in the dorsomedial striatum (DMS) but not in the dorsolateral striatum (DLS). We also showed that repeated administration of ethanol causes a long-lasting increase in NMDAR activity in the DMS, resulting from ethanol-mediated Fyn phosphorylation of NR2B subunits. In this addendum, we report that the different sensitivity of NMDARs to ethanol between the DMS and DLS is not attributed to the abundance of synaptic NR2B-NMDARs or differences in Fyn levels. We further show that LTF is specific for NR2B-, but not NR2A-NMDARs, and that the duration of the in vivo ethanol-mediated increase in NMDAR activity is associated with the period of ethanol exposure, but not with alteration in NR1 or NR2A protein levels. Together, these results suggest that upregulation of NR2B-NMDAR activity by ethanol is selective and that ethanol's effect on NMDAR activity is gradual and cumulative.

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