GABA A receptor subtype selectivity underlying selective anxiolytic effect of baicalin.
ABSTRACT Baicalin, a naturally occurring flavonoid, was previously reported to induce anxiolytic-like effect devoid of sedation and myorelaxation in mice, acting through type A gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA(A)) receptor benzodiazepine (BZ) site. The present study further expanded the behavioral pharmacology profile of baicalin and subtype selectivity was explored as a possible mechanism underlying its in vivo effects on mice. Baicalin was characterized using convulsion, memory, and motor function related animal tests; and its selectivity towards recombinant GABA(A) receptor subtypes expressed in HEK 293T cells was determined by radioligand binding assay and electrophysiological studies. In the picrotoxin-induced seizure, step-through passive avoidance and rotarod tests, the anticonvulsant, amnesic and motor incoordination effects commonly associated with classical BZs were not observed when baicalin was administered at effective anxiolytic doses, demonstrating a separation of the anticonvulsant, amnesic and motor incoordination effects from the anxiolytic-like effect. Although baicalin exhibited higher binding affinity for the alpha1-containing GABA(A) subtype compared with alpha2-, alpha3-, and alpha5-containing subtypes, this was not statistically significant. In contrast to the classical BZ diazepam, baicalin showed significant preference for alpha2- and alpha3-containing subtypes compared to alpha1- and alpha5-containing subtypes in whole-cell patch clamp studies (P < 0.01). Its subtype selectivity suggested that baicalin exerted its in vivo anxiolytic-like effect mainly through the alpha2- and alpha3-containing subtypes. Therefore, the present study revealed an underlying mechanism for the selective anxiolytic profile of baicalin, suggesting alpha2- and alpha3-containing subtypes were important drug targets for flavonoid-based anxiolytics.
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ABSTRACT: Benzodiazepine (BZ) anxiolytics mediate their clinical effects by enhancing the effect of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) at the GABA-A receptor. Classical BZ full agonists such as diazepam, which maximally enhance the function of GABA-A receptors, are effective anxiolytics but carry unwanted side effects including sedation, dependence and abuse liability, limiting their utility. Although a second generation of 'partial agonist' BZs have been pursued, promising preclinical data, in terms of anxiolytic efficacy and decreased unwanted effects, have so far failed to translate to the clinic. Following the insights into GABA-A receptor subtypes mediating the effects of BZs, a third generation of 'receptor subtype-selective' BZ site ligands have been developed. However, it remains to be determined whether promising preclinical data are recapitulated in the clinic.Current Opinion in Pharmacology 03/2006; 6(1):24-9. · 5.44 Impact Factor
- Biochemical Pharmacology 04/1984; 33(6):859-62. · 4.58 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: GABAA receptors are a heterogeneous family of ligand-gated ion channels responsible for mediating inhibitory neurotransmission in the CNS. Since the identification of mammalian cDNAs encoding 13 GABAA-receptor subunits, the composition of native receptor molecules and their localization in the brain has been an area of intense study. We conclude that the number of major subtypes is probably less than ten but their physiological roles have yet to be clearly defined and this represents the next step in GABAA-receptor research.Trends in Neurosciences 05/1996; 19(4):139-43. · 13.58 Impact Factor