Attenuated sensitivity to neuroactive steroids in gamma-aminobutyrate type A receptor delta subunit knockout mice.

Department of Anesthesiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 11/1999; 96(22):12905-10. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.96.22.12905
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) type A receptors mediate fast inhibitory synaptic transmission and have been implicated in responses to sedative/hypnotic agents (including neuroactive steroids), anxiety, and learning and memory. Using gene targeting technology, we generated a strain of mice deficient in the delta subunit of the GABA type A receptors. In vivo testing of various behavioral responses revealed a strikingly selective attenuation of responses to neuroactive steroids, but not to other modulatory drugs. Electrophysiological recordings from hippocampal slices revealed a significantly faster miniature inhibitory postsynaptic current decay time in null mice, with no change in miniature inhibitory postsynaptic current amplitude or frequency. Learning and memory assessed with fear conditioning were normal. These results begin to illuminate the novel contributions of the delta subunit to GABA pharmacology and sedative/hypnotic responses and behavior and provide insights into the physiology of neurosteroids.

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