Modulation of the GABAergic pathway for the treatment …

N2 - Background: Neurosteroids and other γ-aminobutyric acid A (GABA A) receptor-modulating compounds have been shown to affect ethanol intake, although their mechanism remains unclear. This study examined how patterns of 24-hour ethanol drinking in mice were altered with the synthetic GABAergic neurosteroid ganaxolone (GAN), with an inhibitor of neurosteroid synthesis (finasteride [FIN]), or a GABA A receptor agonist with some selectivity at extrasynaptic receptors (gaboxadol HCL [THIP]). Methods: Male C57BL/6J mice had continuous access to a 10% v/v ethanol solution (10E) or water. Using lickometer chambers, drinking patterns were analyzed among mice treated in succession to GAN (0, 5, and 10mg/kg), FIN (0 or 100mg/kg), and THIP (0, 2, 4, 8, and 16mg/kg). Results: GAN shifted drinking in a similar but extended manner to previous reports using low doses of the neurosteroid allopregnanolone (ALLO); drinking was increased in hour 1, decreased in hours 2 and 3, and increased in hours 4 and 5 postinjection. THIP (8mg/kg) and FIN both decreased 10E drinking during the first 5hours postinjection by 30 and 53%, respectively, while having no effect on or increasing water drinking, respectively. All 3 drugs altered the initiation of drinking sessions in a dose-dependent fashion. FIN increased and GAN decreased time to first lick and first bout. THIP (8mg/kg) decreased time to first lick but increased time to first bout and attenuated first bout size. Conclusions: The present findings support a role for the modulation of ethanol intake by neurosteroids and GABA A receptor-acting compounds and provide hints as to how drinking patterns are shifted. The ability of THIP to alter 10E drinking suggests that extrasynaptic GABA A receptors may be involved in the modulation of ethanol intake. Further, the consistent results with THIP to that seen previously with high doses of ALLO suggest that future studies should further examine the relationship between neurosteroids and extrasynaptic GABA A receptors, which could provide a better understanding of the mechanism by which neurosteroids influence ethanol intake.

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N2 - Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common genetic cause of intellectual disability and the most common single-gene cause of autism. It is caused by mutations on the fragile X mental retardation gene (FMR1) and lack of fragile X mental retardation protein, which in turn, leads to decreased inhibition of translation of many synaptic proteins. The metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) hypothesis states that the neurological defcits in individuals with FXS are due mainly to downstream consequences of overstimulation of the mGluR pathway. The main efforts have focused on mGluR5 targeted treatments; however, investigation on the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) system and its potential as a targeted treatment is less emphasized. The fragile X mouse models (Fmr1-knock out) show decreased GABA subunit receptors, decreased synthesis of GABA, increased catabolism of GABA, and overall decreased GABAergic input in many regions of the brain. Consequences of the reduced GABAergic input in FXS include oversensitivity to sensory stimuli, seizures, and anxiety. Deficits in the GABA receptors in different regions of the brain are associated with behavioral and attentional processing deficits linked to anxiety and autistic behaviors. The understanding of the neurobiology of FXS has led to the development of targeted treatments for the core behavioral features of FXS, which include social deficits, inattention, and anxiety. These symptoms are also observed in individuals with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, therefore the targeted treatments for FXS are leading the way in the treatment of other neurodevelopmental syndromes and autism. The GABAergic system in FXS represents a target for new treatments. Herein, we discuss the animal and human trials of GABAergic treatment in FXS. Arbaclofen and ganaxolone have been used in individuals with FXS. Other potential GABAergic treatments, such as riluzole, gaboxadol, tiagabine, and vigabatrin, will be also discussed. Further studies are needed to determine the safety and efficacy of GABAergic treatments for FXS.


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Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common genetic cause of intellectual disability and the most common single-gene cause of autism. It is caused by mutations on the fragile X mental retardation gene (FMR1) and lack of fragile X mental retardation protein, which in turn, leads to decreased inhibition of translation of many synaptic proteins. The metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) hypothesis states that the neurological defcits in individuals with FXS are due mainly to downstream consequences of overstimulation of the mGluR pathway. The main efforts have focused on mGluR5 targeted treatments; however, investigation on the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) system and its potential as a targeted treatment is less emphasized. The fragile X mouse models (Fmr1-knock out) show decreased GABA subunit receptors, decreased synthesis of GABA, increased catabolism of GABA, and overall decreased GABAergic input in many regions of the brain. Consequences of the reduced GABAergic input in FXS include oversensitivity to sensory stimuli, seizures, and anxiety. Deficits in the GABA receptors in different regions of the brain are associated with behavioral and attentional processing deficits linked to anxiety and autistic behaviors. The understanding of the neurobiology of FXS has led to the development of targeted treatments for the core behavioral features of FXS, which include social deficits, inattention, and anxiety. These symptoms are also observed in individuals with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, therefore the targeted treatments for FXS are leading the way in the treatment of other neurodevelopmental syndromes and autism. The GABAergic system in FXS represents a target for new treatments. Herein, we discuss the animal and human trials of GABAergic treatment in FXS. Arbaclofen and ganaxolone have been used in individuals with FXS. Other potential GABAergic treatments, such as riluzole, gaboxadol, tiagabine, and vigabatrin, will be also discussed. Further studies are needed to determine the safety and efficacy of GABAergic treatments for FXS.