Navigation Links
Scripps Research scientists find seizure drug reverses cellular effects

In the new research, published in the May 28, 2008 edition of The Journal of Neuroscience, the scientists found that gabapentin normalizes the action of certain brain cells altered by chronic alcohol abuse in an area of the brain known as the central amygdala, which plays an important role in fear- and stress-related behaviors, as well as in regulating alcohol drinking. In the study, alcohol-dependent rodents receiving gabapentin drank less alcohol.

The results are exciting, said Scripps Research Assistant Professor Marisa Roberto, Ph.D., who was first author of the study. Our research shows that gabapentin not only changes the alcohol-consumption patterns of addicted rats (and not of the control group), but also may reverse some of the effects of addiction on a specific neurotransmitter in the brain.

"This is an example of the strength of the translational approach of the Pearson Center, where the clinical uses of gabapentin led us to hypothesize that gabapentin may act to restore homeostatic dysregulation of the GABAergic system," said George Koob, Ph.D., chair of the Scripps Research Committee on the Neurobiology of Addictive Disorders and co-director of the Pearson Center for Alcoholism and Addiction Research at Scripps Research. "Cellular and behavioral studies converged to suggest that indeed gabapentin could normalize GABAergic tone in a specific brain region known to be dysregulated in dependent animals. Such results provide a strong rationale for translating these observations back to the clinical setting for the treatment of alcoholism."

In previous studies, gabapentin has been shown to effectively treat alcohol withdrawal and reduce alcohol consumption and cravings following detoxification in alcoholics. However, how gabapentin could act to combat alcohol dependence in the brain has been unclear. The new study sheds light on this question by detailing the action of gabapentin (known commercially as Neurontin)a structural analogue of the inhibitory synaptic transmitter gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA)on neural signaling in the brain.

In the new study, the scientists first tested the effects of gabapentin on the behavior of alcohol-dependent and non-dependent rats. The researchers found that alcohol-dependent rats that received gabapentin drank significantly less alcohol and demonstrated fewer anxiety-like behaviors in the face of alcohol abstinence than those who did not receive the drug. The behavior of non-dependent rats receiving gabapentin remained unaffected. These results were observed both when the rats received gabapentin systemically and when the medication was infused directly into the central amygdala region of the brain.

At the cellular level, dependence on alcohol has been associated with increased strength of inhibitory synapses (junctions between two nerve cells) in the central amygdala. In the new study, the scientists found gabapentin, like alcohol, increased the strength of these central amygdala inhibitory synapse cells from non-dependent rats, but decreased their strength in cells from alcohol-dependent rats.

Interestingly, these effects of gabapentin disappeared in the presence of a specific inhibitor of so-called GABAB receptors, indicating that gabapentins cellular mechanisms likely involve changes in release of the transmitter GABA at the inhibitory synapses. The scientists also found that the sensitivity of GABAB receptors decreased with alcohol dependence, suggesting a biological mechanism for the development of alcohol dependence in general and for gabapentins contrasting effects before and after long-term alcohol exposure in particular.

The scientists plan to further explore the mechanism of action of gabapentin in the brain. In addition, clinical trials on the effectiveness of gabapentin as a treatment for alcohol dependence are currently under way at The Scripps Research Institute.


Contact: Keith McKeown
Scripps Research Institute

Related medicine news :

1. Scripps Memorial Hospital Nurses Throw Out CNA
2. Scripps Florida scientists develop a process to disrupt hepatitis C virion production
3. Scripps research team wins $4M grant to study effects of chronic marijuana use
4. Scripps Florida awarded $7.6 million grant to develop novel treatment for Parkinsons disease
5. Scripps research scientists devise approach that stops HIV at earliest stage of infection
6. Scripps scientists peg wind as the force behind fish booms and busts
7. Scripps scientists find calcium channel blockers help normalize lysosomal storage disease cells
8. Scripps research scientists find new genetic mutation that halts the development of lupus
9. Scripps research scientists discover chemical triggers for aggression in mice
10. Scripps Health Treats More Than 160 Fire Victims at Emergency Departments Across San Diego County
11. Scripps Research scientists shed new light on how antibodies fight HIV
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... San Mateo, CA (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... $15,000 in prizes were awarded to winners of the Create Real Impact awards. ... and creative expression to help stem the tide of distracted and reckless driving, the ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Dr. Todd S. Afferica, a ... services to many of his patients. Dr. Afferica now uses the BIOLASE WaterLase iPlus ... amount of time the doctor uses other traditional cutting tools, such as the scalpel ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... launched their Black Friday sale a week early, offering 40% off select bras ... the intimate apparel industry through both mobile fit technology and the latest fashion, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... IL (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... are national leaders when it comes to several aspects of orthopedic care. They ... joint replacements, orthopedic surgeries and general orthopedic care. , Becker's Hospital Review ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Brillouin Energy Corp. Congress ... the developer of renewable energy technologies capable of producing commercially useful amounts of ... that its WET™ and HHT™ Boiler System reactor core modules were presented to ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... "Company") (NYSE: MR ), a ... medical devices worldwide, today announced that ... general meeting of shareholders at the ... Grand Century, 193 Prince Edward West Road, ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Pennsylvania , November 25, 2015 - ... Continuing Medical Education (CME) --> ... Continuing Medical Education (CME) --> ... Care Continuing Medical Education (CME) ... medical information products and services, will feature latest diagnostic imaging textbooks ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Frankreich, November 25, 2015 ... heute bekanntgegeben, dass sie eine Lizenz für das Patent ... Poxel, CNRS, UCBL und ENS-Lyon innehaben, an Enyo Pharma ... von FUI AAP8 ins Leben gerufenen und von Edelris ... wurde FXR als ein Behandlungsziel für HBV identifiziert, und ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: