Pharmacological characterisation of cortical gamma-aminobutyric acid type A (GABAA) receptors in two Wistar rat lines selectively bred for high and low anxiety-related behaviour.
ABSTRACT Two Wistar rat lines that have been selectively bred for high-anxiety-related behaviour (HAB) and low-anxiety-related behaviour (LAB) in the elevated plusmaze test may be considered as a genetically prone animal model to study the neurochemical correlates of anxiety-related behaviour. Because there are pronounced differences between the two lines both in baseline levels of open-arm exploration in the elevated plus-maze test and in sensitivity to the anxiolytic effects of 1 mg/kg diazepam, we used these lines to investigate the pharmacology of the benzodiazepine binding site and the GABA binding site of cortical GABAA receptors. No difference in characteristics of flunitrazepam, zolpidem or muscimol binding to cortical GABAA receptors could be detected between the two lines. Although there was an increase in the brain concentration of the anxiolytic neuroactive steroid allopregnanolone, a potent positive allosteric modulator of GABAA receptors, both in HAB and LAB animals after a forced swim stress, allopregnanolone concentrations did not differ between the two lines. Moreover, plasma dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) concentrations were similar in HAB and LAB animals. We conclude that anxiety-related behaviour and benzodiazepine sensitivity in these rat lines are likely to be independent of the pharmacology of cortical GABAA receptors.
- SourceAvailable from: Joseph Lonstein[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Postpartum female rats exhibit a suppression of anxiety-related behaviors when compared to diestrous virgin females, pregnant females, and males. This blunted anxiety promotes optimal maternal care and involves elevated GABA neurotransmission, possibly including greater density of GABA(A) and benzodiazepine receptors in the postpartum brain. We here examined autoradiographic binding of [(3)H]muscimol to measure the total population of GABA(A) receptors and [(3)H]flunitrazepam to assess density of benzodiazepine sites in the medial prefrontal cortex, bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, amygdala, hippocampus, and periaqueductal gray of female rats sacrificed on day 7 postpartum, day 10 of pregnancy, or as diestrous virgins. A group of sexually naïve male rats was also included. We found that [(3)H]muscimol binding did not differ among groups in any site but that diestrous virgin females had greater [(3)H]flunitrazepam binding in the CA1 and dentate gyrus of the hippocampus compared to mid-pregnant females and males. Notably, postpartum and diestrous virgin females did not significantly differ in binding of either ligand in any site examined. This is the first study to evaluate the densities of GABA(A) and benzodiazepine binding sites simultaneously across three female reproductive states and sex with a focus on brain sites influencing anxiety-related behaviors. The results suggest that changes in other GABA(A) receptor characteristics such as subunit composition, or increased presynaptic GABA release during interactions with offspring, must instead play a greater role in the postpartum suppression of anxiety in laboratory rats.Brain research bulletin 06/2011; 86(1-2):60-4. · 2.18 Impact Factor
- [show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The neural basis of trait anxiety is poorly understood. In genetically selected hyperanxious (high anxiety-related behavior; HAB) rats, diazepam induces a stronger anxiolytic response than in hypoanxious (low anxiety-related behavior; LAB) rats. A screen for neuronal response differences to diazepam between HAB and LAB rats using pharmacologic fMRI (phMRI) at 7 T revealed a blunted diazepam-induced neuronal deactivation in the dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) of HABs. This was not due to reduced benzodiazepine (BDZ) receptor densities in this region. Instead, dmPFC tissue oxygenation at baseline was found to be significantly lower in HABs. This suggests a tonic relative hypoactivity under the highly stressful phMRI conditions, offering an explanation for the reduced responsivity to the neural depressant effect of diazepam in the sense of a floor effect. Subsequently, Fos immunoreactivity (Fos-IR) showed that ethologically relevant stressors also cause less dmPFC activation in HABs. In the context of an anxiety-inhibiting role of the dmPFC, we propose that failure to sufficiently activate this region in stressful situations may contribute to high trait anxiety.NeuroImage 10/2004; 23(1):382-91. · 6.25 Impact Factor
- [show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Steroids influence neuronal function through binding to cognate intracellular receptors which may act as transcription factors in the regulation of gene expression. In addition, certain so-called neuroactive steroids modulate ligand-gated ion channels via non-genomic mechanisms. Especially distinct 3alpha-reduced metabolites of progesterone and deoxycorticosterone are potent positive allosteric modulators of gamma-aminobutyric acid type A (GABA(A)) receptors. However, also classical steroid hormones such as 17beta-estradiol, testosterone and progesterone are neuroactive steroids because they may act as functional antagonists at the 5-hydroxytryptamine type 3 (5-HT(3)) receptor, a ligand-gated ion channel or distinct glutamate receptors. A structure-activity relationship for the actions of a variety of steroids at the 5-HT(3) receptor was elaborated that differed considerably from that known for GABA(A) receptors. Although a bindings site for steroids at GABA(A) receptors is still a matter of debate, meanwhile there is also evidence that steroids interact allosterically with ligand-gated ion channels at the receptor membrane interface. On the other hand, also 3alpha-reduced neuroactive steroids may regulate gene expression via the progesterone receptor after intracellular oxidation into 5alpha-pregnane steroids. Animal studies showed that progesterone is converted rapidly into GABAergic neuroactive steroids in vivo. Progesterone reduces locomotor activity in a dose-dependent fashion in male Wistar rats. Moreover, progesterone and 3alpha-reduced neuroactive steroids produce a benzodiazepine-like sleep EEG profile in rats and humans. During major depression, there is a disequilibrium of such 3alpha-reduced neuroactive steroids which is corrected by successful treatment with antidepressant drugs. Neuroactive steroids may further be involved in the treatment of depression and anxiety with antidepressants in patients during ethanol withdrawal. Studies in patients with panic disorder suggest that neuroactive steroids may also play a role in modulating human anxiety. Both the genomic and non-genomic effects of steroids in the brain may contribute to the pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders and the mechanisms of action of antidepressants. Neuroactive steroids affect a broad spectrum of behavioral functions through their unique molecular properties and may represent a new treatment strategy for neuropsychiatric disorders.Psychoneuroendocrinology 03/2003; 28(2):139-68. · 5.14 Impact Factor