Gamma-aminobutyric acid type B receptor (GABABR) has been extensively involved in alcohol use disorders; however, the mechanisms by which this receptor modulates alcohol drinking behavior remain murky. In this study, we investigate alcohol consumption and preference in mice lacking functional GABABR using the 2-bottle choice paradigm. We found that GABAB(1), knockout (KO), and heterozygous (HZ) mice drank higher amounts of an alcoholic solution, preferred alcohol to water, and reached higher blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) compared to wild-type (WT) littermates. The GABABR agonist GHB significantly reduced alcohol consumption in the GABAB(1) HZ and WT but not in the KO mice. Next, because of a functional crosstalk between GABAB R and δ-containing GABAA receptor (δ-GABAA R), we profiled δ subunit mRNA expression levels in brain regions in which the crosstalk was characterized. We found a loss of the alcohol-sensitive GABAAR δ subunit in the hippocampus of the GABAB(1) KO alcohol-naïve mice that was associated with increased G2 subunit abundance. Electrophysiological recordings revealed that these molecular changes were associated with increased phasic inhibition, suggesting a potential gain of synaptic GABAAR responsiveness to alcohol that has been previously described in an animal model of excessive alcohol drinking. Interestingly, voluntary alcohol consumption did not revert the dramatic loss of hippocampal δ-GABAA R occurring in the GABAB( 1 ) KO mice but rather exacerbated this condition. Finally, we profiled hippocampal neuroactive steroids levels following acute alcohols administration in the GABAB(1) KO and WT mice because of previous involvement of GABABR in the regulation of cerebral levels of these compounds. We found that systemic administration of alcohol (1.5 g/kg) did not produce alcohol-induced neurosteroid response in the GABAB(1) KO mice but elicited an expected increase in the hippocampal level of progesterone and 3α,5α-THP in the WT controls. In conclusion, we show that genetic ablation of the GABAB(1) subunit results in increased alcohol consumption and preference that were associated with functional changes in hippocampal GABAAR, suggesting a potential mechanism by which preference for alcohol consumption is maintained in the GABAB(1) KO mice. In addition, we documented that GABAB(1) deficiency results in lack of alcohol-induced neurosteroids, and we discussed the potential implications of this finding in the context of alcohol drinking and dependence.

Increased Voluntary Alcohol Consumption in Mice Lacking GABAB(1) Is Associated With Functional Changes in Hippocampal GABAA Receptors

Francesca Biggio
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Mariangela Serra
Penultimo
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Paolo Follesa
Ultimo
Project Administration
2022-01-01

Abstract

Gamma-aminobutyric acid type B receptor (GABABR) has been extensively involved in alcohol use disorders; however, the mechanisms by which this receptor modulates alcohol drinking behavior remain murky. In this study, we investigate alcohol consumption and preference in mice lacking functional GABABR using the 2-bottle choice paradigm. We found that GABAB(1), knockout (KO), and heterozygous (HZ) mice drank higher amounts of an alcoholic solution, preferred alcohol to water, and reached higher blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) compared to wild-type (WT) littermates. The GABABR agonist GHB significantly reduced alcohol consumption in the GABAB(1) HZ and WT but not in the KO mice. Next, because of a functional crosstalk between GABAB R and δ-containing GABAA receptor (δ-GABAA R), we profiled δ subunit mRNA expression levels in brain regions in which the crosstalk was characterized. We found a loss of the alcohol-sensitive GABAAR δ subunit in the hippocampus of the GABAB(1) KO alcohol-naïve mice that was associated with increased G2 subunit abundance. Electrophysiological recordings revealed that these molecular changes were associated with increased phasic inhibition, suggesting a potential gain of synaptic GABAAR responsiveness to alcohol that has been previously described in an animal model of excessive alcohol drinking. Interestingly, voluntary alcohol consumption did not revert the dramatic loss of hippocampal δ-GABAA R occurring in the GABAB( 1 ) KO mice but rather exacerbated this condition. Finally, we profiled hippocampal neuroactive steroids levels following acute alcohols administration in the GABAB(1) KO and WT mice because of previous involvement of GABABR in the regulation of cerebral levels of these compounds. We found that systemic administration of alcohol (1.5 g/kg) did not produce alcohol-induced neurosteroid response in the GABAB(1) KO mice but elicited an expected increase in the hippocampal level of progesterone and 3α,5α-THP in the WT controls. In conclusion, we show that genetic ablation of the GABAB(1) subunit results in increased alcohol consumption and preference that were associated with functional changes in hippocampal GABAAR, suggesting a potential mechanism by which preference for alcohol consumption is maintained in the GABAB(1) KO mice. In addition, we documented that GABAB(1) deficiency results in lack of alcohol-induced neurosteroids, and we discussed the potential implications of this finding in the context of alcohol drinking and dependence.
2022
alcoholism; allopregnanolone; extrasynaptic GABAARs; functional crosstalk; GABAB receptor; hippocampus; neuroactive steroids; steroidogenesis
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/340298
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