Rationale: Accumulating evidence for the presence of GABA(A) ρ receptors within the amygdala which differ from other members of the GABA(A) receptor family in both subunit composition and functional properties has been recently obtained.
Objectives: This work was conducted to study whether GABA(A) ρ receptors may have a putative role in the amygdaloid modulation of fear and anxiety.
Results: It was found that the bilateral intra-amygdaloid administration (6-240 pmol/side) of (1,2,5,6-tetrahydropyridine-4-yl)methylphosphinic acid, a selective GABA(A) ρ receptor antagonist, reduced dose-dependently the exploration of the open arms of the elevated plus-maze without affecting locomotion and increased the plasma levels of corticosterone. In contrast, bicuculline in the dose range used (1.8-60 pmol/side) induced seizures, but had no effects on the exploration of the maze.
Conclusions: It is suggested that GABA(A) ρ receptors may have a role in the amygdaloid modulation of fear and anxiety.