The role of GABA(A) receptors in the development of alcoholism
by
Enoch MA.
Laboratory of Neurogenetics,
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism,
NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA.
Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2008 Mar 15


ABSTRACT

Alcoholism is a common, heritable, chronic relapsing disorder. GABA(A) receptors undergo allosteric modulation by ethanol, anesthetics, benzodiazepines and neurosteroids and have been implicated in the acute as well as the chronic effects of ethanol including tolerance, dependence and withdrawal. Medications targeting GABA(A) receptors ameliorate the symptoms of acute withdrawal. Ethanol induces plasticity in GABA(A) receptors: tolerance is associated with generally decreased GABA(A) receptor activation and differentially altered subunit expression. The dopamine (DA) mesolimbic reward pathway originating in the ventral tegmental area (VTA), and interacting stress circuitry play an important role in the development of addiction. VTA GABAergic interneurons are the primary inhibitory regulators of DA neurons and a subset of VTA GABA(A) receptors may be implicated in the switch from heavy drinking to dependence. GABA(A) receptors modulate anxiety and response to stress; important elements of sustained drinking and relapse. The GABA(A) receptor subunit genes clustered on chromosome 4 are highly expressed in the reward pathway. Several recent studies have provided strong evidence that one of these genes, GABRA2, is implicated in alcoholism in humans. The influence of the interaction between ethanol and GABA(A) receptors in the reward pathway on the development of alcoholism together with genetic and epigenetic vulnerabilities will be explored in this review.
Alcohol
Tianeptine
Barbiturates
Acamprosate
GABA and sleep
Benzodiazepines
Drugs for alcoholics
GHB and alcoholism
SSRIs and alcoholics
Alcohol and citalopram
Tianeptine and alcohol
Drug-induced cell suicide
Tryptophan and alcoholism
Alcohol, suicide and serotonin
Drink, drugs and sex in antiquity
Alcoholism, dopamine and the brain
Alcohol-induced euphoria: exclusion of serotonin
Does drinking alcohol promote the growth of new brain cells?


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