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Alcohol. 2018 Feb;66:45-53. doi: 10.1016/j.alcohol.2017.08.005. Epub 2017 Aug 12.

Examining the effects of alcohol on GABAA receptor mRNA expression and function in neural cultures generated from control and alcohol dependent donor induced pluripotent stem cells.

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Alcohol Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT, 06030-1410, USA.
Center for Studies of Addiction, Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA; VISN4 MIRECC, Crescenz Philadelphia VAMC, Philadelphia, PA, 19104, USA.
Department of Neuroscience, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT, 06030, USA.
Alcohol Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT, 06030-1410, USA; Institute for Systems Genomics, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, 06268, USA. Electronic address:


Factors influencing the development of alcohol-use disorder (AUD) are complex and heterogeneous. While animal models have been crucial to identifying actions of alcohol on neural cells, human-derived in vitro systems that reflect an individual's genetic background hold promise in furthering our understanding of the molecular and functional effects of alcohol exposure and the pathophysiology of AUD. In this report, we utilized induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSCs)-derived neural cell cultures obtained from healthy individuals (CTLs) and those with alcohol dependence (ADs) to 1) examine the effect of 21-day alcohol exposure on mRNA expression of three genes encoding GABAA receptor subunits (GABRA1, GABRG2, and GABRD) using quantitative PCR, and 2) examine the effect of acute and chronic alcohol exposure on GABA-evoked currents using whole-cell patch-clamp electrophysiology. iPSCs from CTLs and ADs were differentiated into neural cultures enriched for forebrain-type excitatory glutamate neurons. Following 21-day alcohol exposure, significant treatment effects were observed in GABRA1, GABRG2, and GABRD mRNA expression. A modestly significant interaction between treatment and donor phenotype was observed for GABRD, which was increased in cell cultures derived from ADs. No effect of acute or chronic alcohol was observed on GABA-evoked currents in neurons from either CTLs or ADs. This work extends findings examining the effects of alcohol on the GABAA receptor in human cell in vitro model systems.


Alcohol-use disorder; Electrophysiology; GABA receptor; Gene expression; Induced pluripotent stem cells; iPSC

[Available on 2019-02-01]
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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