Role of major NMDA or AMPA receptor subunits in MK-801 potentiation of ethanol intoxication.

Section on Behavioral Science and Genetics, Laboratory for Integrative Neuroscience, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 5625 Fishers Lane Room 2N09, Rockville, MD 20852-9411, USA.
Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research (Impact Factor: 3.31). 07/2008; 32(8):1479-92. DOI: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.2008.00715.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The glutamate system plays a major role in mediating EtOH's effects on brain and behavior, and is implicated in the pathophysiology of alcohol-related disorders. N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) antagonists such as MK-801 (dizocilpine) interact with EtOH at the behavioral level, but the molecular basis of this interaction is unclear.
We first characterized the effects of MK-801 treatment on responses to the ataxic (accelerating rotarod), hypothermic and sedative/hypnotic effects of acute EtOH administration in C57BL/6J and 129/SvImJ inbred mice. Effects of another NMDAR antagonist, phencyclidine, on EtOH-induced sedation/hypnosis were also assessed. Gene knockout of the NMDAR subunit NR2A or l-alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionate GluR1 or pharmacological antagonism of the NMDAR subunit NR2B (via Ro 25-6981) was employed to examine whether inactivating any one of these glutamate signaling molecules modified MK-801's effect on EtOH-related behaviors.
MK-801 markedly potentiated the ataxic effects of 1.75 g/kg EtOH and the sedative/hypnotic effects of 3.0 g/kg EtOH, but not the hypothermic effects of 3.0 g/kg EtOH, in C57BL/6J and 129/SvImJ mice. Phencyclidine potentiated EtOH-induced sedation/hypnosis in both inbred strains. Neither NR2A nor GluR1 KO significantly altered basal EtOH-induced ataxia, hypothermia, or sedation/hypnosis. Ro 25-6981 modestly increased EtOH-induced sedation/hypnosis. The ability of MK-801 to potentiate EtOH-induced ataxia and sedation/hypnosis was unaffected by GluR1 KO or NR2B antagonism. NR2A KO partially reduced MK-801 + EtOH-induced sedation/hypnosis, but not ataxia or hypothermia.
Data confirm a robust and response-specific potentiating effect of MK-801 on sensitivity to EtOH's intoxicating effects. Inactivation of three major components of glutamate signaling had no or only partial impact on the ability of MK-801 to potentiate behavioral sensitivity to EtOH. Further work to elucidate the mechanisms underlying NMDAR x EtOH interactions could ultimately provide novel insight into the role of NMDARs in alcoholism and its treatment.

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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Stimulating the glycine(B) binding site on the N-methyl-d-aspartate ionotropic glutamate receptor (NMDAR) has been proposed as a novel mechanism for modulating behavioral effects of ethanol (EtOH) that are mediated via the NMDAR, including acute intoxication. Here, we pharmacologically interrogated this hypothesis in mice. METHODS: Effects of systemic injection of the glycine(B) agonist, d-serine, the GlyT-1 glycine transporter inhibitor, ALX-5407, and the glycine(B) antagonist, L-701,324, were tested for the effects on EtOH-induced ataxia, hypothermia, and loss of righting reflex (LORR) duration in C57BL/6J (B6) and 129S1/SvImJ (S1) inbred mice. Effects of the glycine(B) partial agonist, d-cycloserine (DCS), the GlyT-1 inhibitor, N-[3-(4'-fluorophenyl)-3-(4'-phenylphenoxy)propyl]sarcosine (NFPS), and the glycine(B) antagonist, 5,7-dichlorokynurenic (DCKA), on EtOH-induced LORR duration were also tested. Interaction effects on EtOH-induced LORR duration were examined via combined treatment with d-serine and ALX-5407, d-serine and MK-801, d-serine and L-701,324, as well as L-701,324 and ALX-5407, in B6 mice, and d-serine in GluN2A and PSD-95 knockout mice. The effect of dietary depletion of magnesium (Mg), an element that interacts with the glycine(B) site, was also tested. RESULTS: Neither d-serine, DCS, ALX-5407, nor NFPS significantly affected EtOH intoxication on any of the measures or strains studied. L-701,324, but not DCKA, dose-dependently potentiated the ataxia-inducing effects of EtOH and increased EtOH-induced (but not pentobarbital-induced) LORR duration. d-serine did not have interactive effects on EtOH-induced LORR duration when combined with ALX-5407. The EtOH-potentiating effects of L-701,324, but not MK-801, on LORR duration were prevented by d-serine, but not ALX-5407. Mg depletion potentiated LORR duration in B6 mice and was lethal in a large proportion of S1 mice. CONCLUSIONS: Glycine(B) site activation failed to produce the hypothesized reduction in EtOH intoxication across a range of measures and genetic strains, but blockade of the glycine(B) site potentiated EtOH intoxication. These data suggest endogenous activity at the glycine(B) opposes EtOH intoxication, but it may be difficult to pharmacologically augment this action, at least in nondependent subjects, perhaps because of physiological saturation of the glycine(B) site.
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    ABSTRACT: Ethanol's action on the brain likely reflects altered function of key ion channels such as glutamatergic N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs). In this study, we determined how expression of a mutant GluN1 subunit (F639A) that reduces ethanol inhibition of NMDARs affects ethanol-induced behaviors in mice. Mice homozygous for the F639A allele died prematurely while heterozygous knock-in mice grew and bred normally. Ethanol (44 mM; ∼0.2 g/dl) significantly inhibited NMDA-mediated EPSCs in wild-type mice but had little effect on responses in knock-in mice. Knock-in mice had normal expression of GluN1 and GluN2B protein across different brain regions and a small reduction in levels of GluN2A in medial prefrontal cortex. Ethanol (0.75-2.0 g/kg; IP) increased locomotor activity in wild-type mice but had no effect on knock-in mice while MK-801 enhanced activity to the same extent in both groups. Ethanol (2.0 g/kg) reduced rotarod performance equally in both groups but knock-in mice recovered faster following a higher dose (2.5 g/kg). In the elevated zero maze, knock-in mice had a blunted anxiolytic response to ethanol (1.25 g/kg) as compared to wild-type animals. No differences were noted between wild-type and knock-in mice for ethanol-induced loss of righting reflex, sleep time, hypothermia or ethanol metabolism. Knock-in mice consumed less ethanol than wild-type mice during daily limited-access sessions but drank more in an intermittent 24 h access paradigm with no change in taste reactivity or conditioned taste aversion. Overall, these data support the hypothesis that NMDA receptors are important in regulating a specific constellation of effects following exposure to ethanol.
    PLoS ONE 11/2013; 8(11):e80541. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0080541 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An increasingly compelling literature points to a major role for the glutamate system in mediating the effects of alcohol on behavior and the pathophysiology of alcoholism. Preclinical studies indicate that glutamate signaling mediates certain aspects of ethanol's intoxicating and rewarding effects, and undergoes adaptations following chronic alcohol exposure that may contribute to the withdrawal, craving and compulsive drug-seeking that drive alcohol abuse and alcoholism. We discuss the potential for targeting the glutamate system as a novel pharmacotherapeutic approach to treating alcohol use disorders, focusing on five major components of the glutamate system: the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor and specific NMDA subunits, the glycineB site on the NMDA receptors (NMDAR), L-alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazole-4-propionic acid ionotropic (AMPA) and kainate (KAR) receptors, metabotropic receptors (mGluR), and glutamate transporters. Chronic alcohol abuse produces a hyperglutamatergic state, characterized by elevated extracellular glutamate and altered glutamate receptors and transporters. Pharmacologically manipulating glutamatergic neurotransmission alters alcohol-related behaviors including intoxication, withdrawal, and alcohol-seeking, in rodents and human subjects. Blocking NMDA and AMPA receptors reduces alcohol consumption in rodents, but side-effects may limit this as a therapeutic approach. Selectively targeting NMDA and AMPA receptor subunits (e.g., GluN2B, GluA3), or the NMDAR glycineB site offers an alternative approach. Blocking mGluR5 potently affects various alcohol-related behaviors in rodents, and mGluR2/3 agonism also suppresses alcohol consumption. Finally, glutamate transporter upregulation may mitigate behavioral and neurotoxic sequelae of excess glutamate caused by alcohol. Despite the many challenges that remain, targeting the glutamate system offers genuine promise for developing new treatments for alcoholism.
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