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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Neurobehavioral effects of alcohol in AMPA receptor subunit (GluR1) deficient mice.

Of the ionotropic glutamatergic receptors, the NMDA receptor is clearly implicated in the acute and chronic effects of ethanol; however, the role of the AMPA receptor in mediating the effects of ethanol in vivo is as yet unclear. Using mice deficient in the AMPA receptor subunit GluR1 (GluR1-/- mice), we investigated whether the AMPA receptor had a significant role in mediating the effects of ethanol. GluR1-/- mice showed greater locomotor activity in a novel environment, but by the fifth day of repeated testing their activity was the same as that of wild-type mice. In contrast to their enhanced locomotor activity, on an accelerating rotarod GluR1-/- mice performed consistently worse than wild-types. With regard to the effects of ethanol on motor responses, GluR1-/- mice did not differ significantly from wild-type mice in ethanol's sedative or incoordinating effects. However, the GluR1-/- mice were insensitive to the hypothermic effects of a hypnotic dose of ethanol in contrast to wild-types; this effect was dissociable from the hypnotic effects of ethanol. Further, tolerance to ethanol developed equally for GluR1-/- mice versus wild-type mice. In terms of alcohol drinking behavior, compared to wild-types, GluR1-/- mice differed neither in the acquisition of voluntary ethanol consumption nor in stress-induced ethanol drinking, nor in the expression of an alcohol deprivation effect (ADE) which is used as a model of relapse-like drinking behavior. In summary, although the loss of a hypothermic effect of ethanol in GluR1-/- mice indicates a critical role for the AMPA receptors in this effect, the GluR1 subunit of the AMPA receptor does not seem to play a critical role in the etiology of alcohol dependence. However, changes observed in activity patterns may be related to the putative role of AMPA receptors in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.[1]


  1. Neurobehavioral effects of alcohol in AMPA receptor subunit (GluR1) deficient mice. Cowen, M.S., Schroff, K.C., Gass, P., Sprengel, R., Spanagel, R. Neuropharmacology (2003) [Pubmed]
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