Distinct mechanisms of ethanol potentiation of local and paracapsular GABAergic synapses in the rat basolateral amygdala
ABSTRACT Converging lines of behavioral and pharmacological evidence suggest that GABAergic synapses in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) may play an integral role in mediating the anxiolytic effects of ethanol (EtOH). Since anxiety is thought to play an important role in the development of, and relapse to, alcoholism, elucidating the mechanisms through which EtOH modulates GABAergic synaptic transmission in the BLA may be fundamental in understanding the etiology of this disease. A recent study in mice has shown that principal cells within the BLA receive inhibitory input from two distinct types of GABAergic interneurons: a loosely distributed population of local interneurons and a dense network of paracapsular (pcs) GABAergic cells clustered along the external capsule border. Here, we sought to confirm the presence of these two populations of GABAergic synapses in the rat BLA and evaluate their ethanol sensitivity. Our results suggest that rat BLA pyramidal cells receive distinct inhibitory input from local and pcs interneurons and that EtOH potentiates both populations of synapses, albeit via distinct mechanisms. EtOH enhancement of local inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) was associated with a significant decrease in paired-pulse ratio (PPR) and was significantly potentiated by the GABA(B) receptor antagonist SCH 50911 [(+)-(S)-5,5-dimethylmorpholinyl-2-acetic acid], consistent with a facilitation of GABA release from presynaptic terminals. Conversely, EtOH enhancement of pcs IPSCs did not alter PPR and was not enhanced by SCH 50911 but was inhibited by blockade of noradrenergic receptors. Collectively, these data reveal that EtOH can potentiate GABAergic inhibitory synaptic transmission in the rat BLA through at least two distinct pathways.
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ABSTRACT: The lateral amygdala nucleus (La) is known as a gateway for emotional learning that interfaces sensory inputs from the cortex and the thalamus. In the La, inhibitory GABAergic inputs control the strength of sensory inputs and interfere with the initial step of the acquisition of fear memory. In the present study, we investigated the spatial and temporal patterns of the inhibitory responses in mouse La using voltage-sensitive dye imaging. Stimulating the external capsule (EC) induced large and long-lasting hyperpolarizing signals in the La. We focused on these hyperpolarizing signals, revealing the origins of the inhibitory inputs by means of surgical cuts on the possible afferent pathways with four patterns. Isolating the medial branch of EC (ECmed), but not the lateral branch of EC (EClat), from the La strongly suppressed the induction of the hyperpolarization. Interestingly, isolating the ECmed from the caudate putamen did not suppress the hyperpolarization, while the surgical cut of the ECmed fiber tract moderately suppressed it. Glutamatergic antagonists completely suppressed the hyperpolarizing signals induced by the stimulation of EC. When directly stimulating the dorsal, middle or ventral part of the ECmed fiber tract in the presence of glutamatergic antagonists, only the stimulation in the middle part of the ECmed caused hyperpolarization. These data indicate that the GABAergic neurons in the medial intercalated cluster (m-ITC), which receive glutamatergic excitatory input from the ECmed fiber tract, send inhibitory afferents to the La. This pathway might have inhibitory effects on the acquisition of fear memory. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.Neuroscience Letters 01/2015; 590. DOI:10.1016/j.neulet.2015.01.079 · 2.06 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The central amygdala (CeA) has a unique role in integrating stress and the rewarding effects of ethanol (EtOH) and plays a major role in the development of EtOH dependence via signaling of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF). A recent report by Herman and colleagues (2013) entitled "Novel Subunit-Specific Tonic GABA Currents and Differential Effects of Ethanol in the Central Amygdala of CRF Receptor-1 Reporter Mice" is the first study to investigate inhibitory tonic currents in relation to CRF signaling in the CeA. The findings of that study significantly enhance our understanding of inhibitory tonic currents in the CeA and give insight into how EtOH may differentially affect CRF signaling within the CeA, leading to the development of EtOH dependence. This commentary will focus on the recent findings of Herman and colleagues and will discuss the effects of EtOH on the entire anxiety/emotion circuitry.Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research 11/2013; 38(3). DOI:10.1111/acer.12298 · 3.31 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The interaction between ethanol (EtOH) and anxiety plays an integral role in the development and maintenance of alcoholism. Many medications in pre-clinical or clinical trials for the treatment of alcoholism share anxiolytic properties. However, these drugs typically have untoward side effects, such as sedation or impairment of motor function that may limit their clinical use. We have recently demonstrated that BRL 37344 (BRL), a selective β3-adrenoceptor (AR) agonist, enhances a discrete population of GABAergic synapses in the basolateral amygdala (BLA) that mediates feed-forward inhibition from lateral paracapsular (LPC) GABAergic interneurons onto BLA pyramidal cells. Behavioral studies revealed that intra-BLA infusion of BRL significantly reduced measures of unconditioned anxiety-like behavior without locomotor depressant effects. The present studies tested the effect of BRL (0.1, 0.5, or 1.0 μg/side) on EtOH self-administration using an intermittent access home cage two-bottle choice procedure and limited access operant responding for EtOH or sucrose. Intra-BLA infusion of BRL did not reduce home cage, intermittent EtOH self-administration. However, using an operant procedure that permits the discrete assessment of appetitive (seeking) and consummatory measures of EtOH self-administration, BRL reduced measures of EtOH and sucrose seeking, but selectively reduced operant responding for EtOH during extinction probe trials. BRL had no effect on consummatory behaviors for EtOH or sucrose. Together, these data suggest that intra-BLA infusion of BRL significantly reduces motivation to seek EtOH and provide initial evidence that β3-ARs and LPC GABAergic synapses may represent promising targets for the development of novel pharmacotherapies for the treatment of alcoholism.Psychopharmacology 08/2013; 231(1). DOI:10.1007/s00213-013-3238-y · 3.99 Impact Factor