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Journal Article

Neurobehavioral effects of alcohol in AMPA receptor subunit (GluR1) deficient mice


Sprengel,  Rolf
Department of Molecular Neurobiology, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Cowen, M. S., Schroff, K. C., Gass, P., Sprengel, R., & Spanagel, R. (2003). Neurobehavioral effects of alcohol in AMPA receptor subunit (GluR1) deficient mice. Neuropharmacology, 45(3), 325-333. doi:10.1016/S0028-3908(03)00174-6.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0029-A877-B
Of the ionotropic glutamatergic receptors, the NMDA receptor is clearly implicated in the acute and chronic effects of ethanol; however, the role of the AMPA receptor in mediating the effects of ethanol in vivo is as yet unclear. Using mice deficient in the AMPA receptor subunit GluR1 (GluR1-/- mice), we investigated whether the AMPA receptor had a significant role in mediating the effects of ethanol. GluR1-/- mice showed greater locomotor activity in a novel environment, but by the fifth day of repeated testing their activity was the same as that of wild-type mice. In contrast to their enhanced locomotor activity, on an accelerating rotarod GluR1-/- mice performed consistently worse than wild-types. With regard to the effects of ethanol on motor responses, GluR1-/- mice did not differ significantly from wild-type mice in ethanol's sedative or incoordinating effects. However, the GluR1-/- mice were insensitive to the hypothermic effects of a hypnotic dose of ethanol in contrast to wild-types; this effect was dissociable from the hypnotic effects of ethanol. Further, tolerance to ethanol developed equally for GluR1-/- mice versus wild-type mice. In terms of alcohol drinking behavior, compared to wild-types, GluR1-/- mice differed neither in the acquisition of voluntary ethanol consumption nor in stress-induced ethanol drinking, nor in the expression of an alcohol deprivation effect (ADE) which is used as a model of relapse-like drinking behavior. In summary, although the loss of a hypothermic effect of ethanol in GluR1-/- mice indicates a critical role for the AMPA receptors in this effect, the GluR1 subunit of the AMPA receptor does not seem to play a critical role in the etiology of alcohol dependence. However, changes observed in activity patterns may be related to the putative role of AMPA receptors in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.