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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1995 Oct;19(5):1312-6.

Ethanol inhibition of AMPA and kainate receptor-mediated depolarizations of hippocampal area CA1.

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Department of Pharmacology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA.


Longitudinal hippocampal slices were prepared from adult female rats. The excitatory amino acids, alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate (AMPA) and kainic acid, were applied to area CA1, and the resulting depolarizations were measured using the grease-gap electrophysiological technique. Agonist dose-response curves were generated in the presence and absence of various concentrations of ethanol. Ethanol (25-200 mM) significantly attenuated the depolarizations that were produced by each agonist. In addition, we found that ethanol potently antagonized kainate-induced depolarizations across the agonist concentration-response curve, whereas it significantly suppressed only AMPA responses that were induced with moderate-to-high agonist concentrations. These results indicate that ethanol has potent antagonist actions against non-N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) excitatory amino acid-induced neuronal depolarizations in hippocampal area CA1. Moreover, the relative potency of ethanol depends on the specific excitatory agonist tested and the concentration of that agonist. This suggests that, in addition to the known effects of ethanol on NMDA receptor-mediated activity, it may also potently attenuate ongoing "fast" glutamatergic synaptic activity in the hippocampus.

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