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Open Journal of Neuroscience

ISSN: 2075-9088
Volume 5, 2017

Open Journal of Neuroscience, 2013, 3-5 [Research Article]

Acute effects of ethanol on GABAA and glycine currents in the lateral habenula neurons of young rats

Zijing Xiea,b, Guohui Lia, Jiang-Hong Yea,*

a Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology and Physiology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Jersey Medical School, Newark, New Jersey
b Department of Neurology Dong-Zhi-Men Hospital, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. Key laboratory for internal Chinese Medicine of Ministry of Education, China

Corresponding Author & Address:

Jiang-Hong Ye*
Department of Anesthesiology, UMDNJ, New Jersey Medical School,  185 South Orange Avenue, Newark, New Jersey 07103, USA; Tel: + 1973-972-1866, Fax: +1973-972-4172.

Article History:
Published: 21st August, 2013   Accepted: 21st August, 2013
Received: 10th June, 2013      

© Ye et al; licensee Ross Science Publishers

ROSS Open Access articles will be distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided that the original work will always be cited properly.

Zijing Xie and Guohui Li contribute equally to this work.


Compelling evidence has shown a pivotal role of dopaminergic function in drug addiction. Recently, the lateral habenula (LHb) has attracted a great deal of attention as another target for abused drugs in the brain because its role in regulating dopaminergic system, among others. GABA and glycine are major inhibitory neurotransmitters. Their corresponding receptors are key targets of ethanol. The properties of these receptors in LHb neurons and their responses to ethanol in particular however, remain unknown. Using the patch clamp techniques, we examined the effects of ethanol on the chloride currents elicited by GABA and glycine in LHb neurons acutely dissociated from 10-20 day-old Sprague–Dawley rats. We show that GABA concentration-dependently elicited a bicuculline sensitive inward current in 96% (130/140) of the neurons tested. Ethanol (43.2 mM) suppressed current elicited by a wide range of concentrations (1-300 µM) of GABA in 74% (35/47) cells tested. Ethanol suppression is dependent on its concentrations but not on membrane potentials of the neurons. Moreover, glycine concentration-dependently elicited an inward current in 94% (112/120) of the neurons tested. Both strychnine and picrotoxin concentration dependently suppressed glycine current with IC50 of 220 nM and 813 µM, respectively. Ethanol (43.2 mM) potentiated current elicited by unsaturated but not saturated concentrations of glycine. Thus, the LHb neurons of young rats contain both functional GABAA and glycine receptors which are sensitive to ethanol at pharmacologically relevant concentrations. These effects of ethanol might be important in the control of the activity and output of LHb neurons.

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