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Werner, David F. (2007) ELUCIDATING THE ROLE OF ALPHA1-CONTAINING GABA(A) RECEPTORS IN ETHANOL ACTION. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Alcohol (ethanol) has a prominent role in society and is one of the most frequently used and abused drugs. Despite the pervasive use and abuse of ethanol, the molecular mechanisms of ethanol action remain unclear. What is well known is that ethanol intoxication elicits a range of behavioral effects. These effects most likely occur through the direct action of ethanol on targets in the central nervous system. By studying behavioral effects, the role of individual targets can be determined. The function of γ-amino butyric acid type A (GABAA) receptors is altered by ethanol, but due to multiple receptor subunits the exact role of individual GABAA receptor subunits in ethanol action is not known. This dissertation focused on the role of α1-containing GABAA receptors in ethanol action using gene knockin mice with ethanol insensitive α1 GABAA receptors. </br></br> In the second chapter, knockin mice were molecularly characterized and ethanol-induced behavioral effects were assessed. α1 was found to mediate acute tolerance to the motor ataxic effects of ethanol. In the third chapter, α1 involvement in ethanol induction of neuronal activity was assessed in discrete neuroanatomic regions using the immediate early gene c-fos. Specifically, c-fos immunohistochemistry was characterized after acute ethanol exposure, after chronic ethanol exposure, and finally during the ethanol withdrawal phase. α1 was found to be involved in ethanol-mediated effects in the dentate gyrus. </br></br> In the fourth chapter, α1 involvement in chronic tolerance to ethanol as well as physical dependence on ethanol was characterized. Results demonstrated that α1-GABAA-Rs play a role in the development of tolerance to chronic ethanol in motor ataxia. Intriguingly, α1 was implicated in dependence as assessed with ethanol withdrawal-related hyperexcitability. Knockin mice were more sensitive to ethanol's withdrawal-related hyperexcitability effects. In summary, this dissertation further supports α1 GABAA-Rs in the mechanism of ethanol action. By chiseling away at the various components of ethanol action we are beginning to elucidate the mechanism of ethanol action. Further elucidation of the mechanism of action of α1 GABAA-Rs in tolerance and dependence could deepen our understanding of the molecular mechanisms behind alcohol abuse and alcoholism. By understanding the molecular mechanisms of ethanol, alcohol abuse may be lessened and alcoholism could potentially be cured.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Werner, David F.dfw3@pitt.eduDFW3
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLevitan, Edwin S
Committee CoChairHomanics, Gregg E
Committee MemberMonaghan, A. Paula
Committee MemberLariviere, William R
Committee MemberXu, Yan
Date: 24 September 2007
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 12 September 2007
Approval Date: 24 September 2007
Submission Date: 24 September 2007
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Medicine > Molecular Pharmacology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Alcohol; GABA
Other ID:, etd-09242007-115442
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:02
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:50


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