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Addict Biol. 2017 Mar;22(2):381-389. doi: 10.1111/adb.12333. Epub 2015 Dec 22.

Genetic and pharmacological manipulation of glyoxalase 1 regulates voluntary ethanol consumption in mice.

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Committee on Neurobiology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, 60637, USA.
Department of Human Genetics, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, 60637, USA.
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Institute for Drug Discovery, Milwaukee, WI, USA.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, 60637, USA.
Department of Psychiatry, University of Californian San Diego, La Jolla, CA, 92093, USA.


Previous studies have identified an association between the gene glyoxalase 1 (Glo1) and anxiety-like behavior in mice and have shown that the substrate of GLO1, methylglyoxal, is a competitive partial agonist at GABAA receptors. Given the well-established role of GABAA receptors in the behavioral effects of ethanol (EtOH), we investigated the role of Glo1 in voluntary EtOH consumption in mice using the drinking in the dark (DID) paradigm. Transgenic mice overexpressing Glo1 on both FVB/NJ (FVB) or C57BL/6J (B6) backgrounds showed increased voluntary EtOH consumption compared to their wild-type littermates in DID. Furthermore, transgenic Glo1 knockdown mice on a B6 background showed decreased voluntary EtOH consumption in DID. These genetic manipulations of Glo1 had no effect on sucrose, saccharin or water consumption. Finally, we found that a small molecule GLO1 inhibitor (S-bromobenzylglutathione cyclopentyl diester (pBBG; 6.25, 12.5 mg/kg)) reduced EtOH consumption compared to vehicle treated B6 mice without altering saccharin or water consumption. Sucrose consumption was only reduced by the higher (12.5 mg/kg) dose of pBBG. We did not observe differences in the loss of righting reflex (LORR) or EtOH-induced foot slips on the balance beam in response to acute EtOH administration (LORR: 4 g/kg, Balance Beam: 1.25 g/kg) in B6 or FVB mice overexpressing Glo1, nor in B6 mice treated with pBBG. These data are the first to implicate Glo1 in EtOH-related behaviors and suggest that GLO1 inhibitors may have therapeutic potential for the treatment of alcohol use disorders.


Alcohol use disorder; GLO1; drinking in the dark; ethanol consumption; methylglyoxal

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