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A pharmacogenetic 'restriction-of-function' approach reveals evidence for anxiolytic-like actions mediated by α5-containing GABAA receptors in mice


Behlke, Lauren M; Foster, Rachel A; Liu, Jing; Benke, Dietmar; Benham, Rebecca S; Nathanson, Anna J; Yee, Benjamin K; Zeilhofer, Hanns Ulrich; Engin, Elif; Rudolph, Uwe (2016). A pharmacogenetic 'restriction-of-function' approach reveals evidence for anxiolytic-like actions mediated by α5-containing GABAA receptors in mice. Neuropsychopharmacology, 41(10):2492-2501.

Abstract

Benzodiazepines have been widely used for their anxiolytic actions. However, the contribution of GABAA receptor subtypes to anxiolysis is still controversial. Studies with mutant mice harboring diazepam-insensitive α-subunits α1, α2, α3, or α5 have revealed that α2-containing GABAA receptors (α2-GABAARs) are required for diazepam-induced anxiolysis, with no evidence for an involvement of any other α-subunit, whereas TP003, described as a selective modulator of α3-containing GABAA receptors, was shown to be anxiolytic. Here, we describe a novel, systematic approach to evaluate the role of positive allosteric modulation of each of the four diazepam-sensitive α-subtypes in anxiety-related behavioral paradigms. By combining H to R point mutations in three out of the four diazepam-sensitive α-subunits in mice with a 129X1/SvJ background, diazepam becomes a subtype-specific modulator of the remaining non-mutated α-subtype. Modulation of α5-GABAARs, but not of α2-GABAARs, increased the time in the light side of the light-dark box as well as open-arm exploration in the elevated plus maze. In contrast, modulation of α3-GABAARs decreased open-arm exploration, whereas modulation of α2-GABAARs increased time in the center in the open-field test. Modulation of any single α-subtype had no effect on stress-induced hyperthermia. Our results provide evidence that modulation of α5-GABAARs elicits anxiolytic-like actions, whereas our data do not provide evidence for an anxiolytic-like action of α3-GABAARs. Thus, α5-GABAARs may be suitable targets for novel anxiolytic drugs.Neuropsychopharmacology advance online publication, 11 May 2016; doi:10.1038/npp.2016.49.

Abstract

Benzodiazepines have been widely used for their anxiolytic actions. However, the contribution of GABAA receptor subtypes to anxiolysis is still controversial. Studies with mutant mice harboring diazepam-insensitive α-subunits α1, α2, α3, or α5 have revealed that α2-containing GABAA receptors (α2-GABAARs) are required for diazepam-induced anxiolysis, with no evidence for an involvement of any other α-subunit, whereas TP003, described as a selective modulator of α3-containing GABAA receptors, was shown to be anxiolytic. Here, we describe a novel, systematic approach to evaluate the role of positive allosteric modulation of each of the four diazepam-sensitive α-subtypes in anxiety-related behavioral paradigms. By combining H to R point mutations in three out of the four diazepam-sensitive α-subunits in mice with a 129X1/SvJ background, diazepam becomes a subtype-specific modulator of the remaining non-mutated α-subtype. Modulation of α5-GABAARs, but not of α2-GABAARs, increased the time in the light side of the light-dark box as well as open-arm exploration in the elevated plus maze. In contrast, modulation of α3-GABAARs decreased open-arm exploration, whereas modulation of α2-GABAARs increased time in the center in the open-field test. Modulation of any single α-subtype had no effect on stress-induced hyperthermia. Our results provide evidence that modulation of α5-GABAARs elicits anxiolytic-like actions, whereas our data do not provide evidence for an anxiolytic-like action of α3-GABAARs. Thus, α5-GABAARs may be suitable targets for novel anxiolytic drugs.Neuropsychopharmacology advance online publication, 11 May 2016; doi:10.1038/npp.2016.49.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:11 May 2016
Deposited On:26 May 2016 18:41
Last Modified:12 Aug 2016 01:02
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:0893-133X
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/npp.2016.49
PubMed ID:27067130

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