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      Behavioral Neurobiology of Anxiety and Its Treatment 

      GABAA Receptor α2/α3 Subtype-Selective Modulators as Potential Nonsedating Anxiolytics

      Springer Berlin Heidelberg

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          Most cited references 66

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          Cortical inhibitory neurons and schizophrenia.

          Impairments in certain cognitive functions, such as working memory, are core features of schizophrenia. Convergent findings indicate that a deficiency in signalling through the TrkB neurotrophin receptor leads to reduced GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) synthesis in the parvalbumin-containing subpopulation of inhibitory GABA neurons in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex of individuals with schizophrenia. Despite both pre- and postsynaptic compensatory responses, the resulting alteration in perisomatic inhibition of pyramidal neurons contributes to a diminished capacity for the gamma-frequency synchronized neuronal activity that is required for working memory function. These findings reveal specific targets for therapeutic interventions to improve cognitive function in individuals with schizophrenia.
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            Benzodiazepine actions mediated by specific gamma-aminobutyric acid(A) receptor subtypes.

            GABA(A) (gamma-aminobutyric acid(A)) receptors are molecular substrates for the regulation of vigilance, anxiety, muscle tension, epileptogenic activity and memory functions, which is evident from the spectrum of actions elicited by clinically effective drugs acting at their modulatory benzodiazepine-binding site. Here we show, by introducing a histidine-to-arginine point mutation at position 101 of the murine alpha1-subunit gene, that alpha1-type GABA(A) receptors, which are mainly expressed in cortical areas and thalamus, are rendered insensitive to allosteric modulation by benzodiazepine-site ligands, whilst regulation by the physiological neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid is preserved. alpha1(H101R) mice failed to show the sedative, amnesic and partly the anticonvulsant action of diazepam. In contrast, the anxiolytic-like, myorelaxant, motor-impairing and ethanol-potentiating effects were fully retained, and are attributed to the nonmutated GABA(A) receptors found in the limbic system (alpha2, alpha5), in monoaminergic neurons (alpha3) and in motoneurons (alpha2, alpha5). Thus, benzodiazepine-induced behavioural responses are mediated by specific GABA(A) receptor subtypes in distinct neuronal circuits, which is of interest for drug design.
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              Sedative but not anxiolytic properties of benzodiazepines are mediated by the GABA(A) receptor alpha1 subtype.

              Inhibitory neurotransmission in the brain is largely mediated by GABA(A) receptors. Potentiation of GABA receptor activation through an allosteric benzodiazepine (BZ) site produces the sedative, anxiolytic, muscle relaxant, anticonvulsant and cognition-impairing effects of clinically used BZs such as diazepam. We created genetically modified mice (alpha1 H101R) with a diazepam-insensitive alpha1 subtype and a selective BZ site ligand, L-838,417, to explore GABA(A) receptor subtypes mediating specific physiological effects. These two complimentary approaches revealed that the alpha1 subtype mediated the sedative, but not the anxiolytic effects of benzodiazepines. This finding suggests ways to improve anxiolytics and to develop drugs for other neurological disorders based on their specificity for GABA(A) receptor subtypes in distinct neuronal circuits.
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                Author and book information

                Book
                978-3-642-02911-0
                978-3-642-02912-7
                2010
                10.1007/978-3-642-02912-7
                Book Chapter
                2009
                September 18 2009
                : 331-360
                10.1007/7854_2009_30

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