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Comparative Study
, 13 (6), 411-23

Molecular Mechanisms of Tolerance to and Withdrawal of GABA(A) Receptor Modulators

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Comparative Study

Molecular Mechanisms of Tolerance to and Withdrawal of GABA(A) Receptor Modulators

Giovanni Biggio et al. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol.

Abstract

Here, we summarize recent data pertaining to the effects of GABA(A) receptor modulators on the receptor gene expression in order to elucidate the molecular mechanisms behind tolerance and dependence induced by these drugs. Drug selectivity and intrinsic activity seems to be important to evidence at the molecular level the GABA(A) receptor tolerance. On the contrary, we suggested that all drug tested are equally potentially prone to induce dependence. Our results demonstrate that long-lasting exposure of GABA(A) receptors to endogenous steroids, benzodiazepines and ethanol, as well as their withdrawal, induce marked effects on receptor structure and function. These results suggest the possible synergic action between endogenous steroids and these drugs in modulating the functional activity of specific neuronal populations. We report here that endogenous steroids may play a crucial role in the action of ethanol on dopaminergic neurons.

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