Inhibition of NMDA-induced striatal dopamine release and behavioral activation by the neuroactive steroid 3alpha-hydroxy-5beta-pregnan-20-one hemisuccinate

J Neurochem. 2003 Jul;86(1):92-101. doi: 10.1046/j.1471-4159.2003.01814.x.


Our laboratory has previously shown that the synthetic neuroactive steroid 3alpha-hydroxy-5beta-pregnan-20-one hemisuccinate (3alpha5betaHS) is a negative modulator of NMDA receptors in vitro. Similarly, 3alpha5betaHS exhibits rapid sedative, analgesic, anticonvulsive, and neuroprotective effects in vivo. Here we report a study designed to investigate whether a negatively charged neuroactive steroid, 3alpha5betaHS, modulates the action of NMDA receptors in vivo. Our results indicate that peripherally administered 3alpha5betaHS enters the CNS and inhibits NMDA-mediated motor activity and dopamine release in the rat striatum. The increase in motor activity induced by intrastriatal microinjection of NMDA was blocked by the systemic administration of 3alpha5betaHS and the NMDA-induced increase in extracellular dopamine in the striatum was also attenuated by both systemically administered and intrastriatally administered (by in vivo microdialysis) 3alpha5betaHS. These data indicate that 3alpha5betaHS acts through striatal NMDA receptors in vivo. When taken together, these results suggest that neuroactive steroids may prove to be effective in the treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders involving over-stimulation of NMDA receptors in the mesotelencephalic dopamine system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Corpus Striatum / drug effects
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism*
  • Dopamine / metabolism*
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists / administration & dosage
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists / pharmacology
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Male
  • Microdialysis
  • Microinjections
  • Motor Activity / drug effects
  • N-Methylaspartate / administration & dosage
  • N-Methylaspartate / pharmacology*
  • Pregnanolone / analogs & derivatives
  • Pregnanolone / pharmacokinetics
  • Pregnanolone / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Steroids / pharmacokinetics
  • Steroids / pharmacology*
  • Succinates / pharmacokinetics
  • Succinates / pharmacology*


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists
  • Steroids
  • Succinates
  • 3-hydroxy-5-beta-pregnan-20-one hemisuccinate
  • N-Methylaspartate
  • Pregnanolone
  • Dopamine