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Brain Res. 1997 May 9;756(1-2):35-45.

Changes in glutamate receptors, c-fos mRNA expression and activator protein-1 (AP-1) DNA binding activity in the brain of phenobarbital-dependent and -withdrawn rats.

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Department of Biochemical Toxicology, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Showa University, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo, Japan.


We studied changes in glutamate receptors, expression of immediate early genes, and AP-1 DNA binding activity in the brains of phenobarbital (PB)-dependent and -withdrawn rats to investigate the possible involvement of activation of glutamate receptors in PB withdrawal syndrome. PB-dependent rats were prepared by feeding drug-admixed food for 5 weeks. Autoradiographic analysis showed that binding of [3H(+)-5-methyl-10,11-dihydro-5H-dibenzo[a,d]cyclohepten-5,10-imin e (MK-801), an antagonist of N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptors, increased significantly in the cerebral cortices of PB-dependent and 24-h-withdrawn rats. However, [3H]MK-801 binding in the hippocampus and [3H]6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (CNQX) and [3H]kainic acid binding in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex were essentially unchanged in both groups. PB withdrawal seizures were followed by increased expression of c-fos mRNA in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex and of c-jun mRNA in the cerebral cortex. The induction of c-fos and c-jun mRNA was suppressed by administration of MK-801. Furthermore, PB withdrawal enhanced AP-1 DNA binding activity in the brain. The present findings suggest functional enhancement of glutamatergic neurotransmission during the development of PB withdrawal syndrome.

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