An interaction between benzodiazepines and neuroactive steroids at GABAA receptors in cultured hippocampal neurons
Neurosteroids are modulators of several receptors and ion channels and are implicated in the pathophysiology of several neuropsychiatric diseases including hepatic encephalopathy (HE). The neurosteroid, allopregnanolone, a positive allosteric modulator of GABA receptors, accumulates in the brains of HE patients where it can potentiate GABA receptor-mediated responses. Attenuation of the effects of neurosteroids on GABA-ergic neurotransmission is therefore of interest for the management of HE. In the present study, we determined the effect of the benzodiazepine partial inverse agonist, Ro15-4513, and the benzodiazepine antagonist, flumazenil on modulation of the GABA mediated chloride currents by allopregnanolone and on spontaneous synaptic activity in cultured hippocampal neurons using the patch-clamp technique. Allopregnanolone (0.03-0.3 μM), dose-dependently potentiated GABA-induced currents, an action significantly reduced by Ro15-4513 (10 μM). In contrast, flumazenil (10 μM) had no effect on the ability of allopregnanolone to potentiate GABA currents but it blocked the effects of Ro15-4513. The frequency of spontaneous synaptic activity was significantly reduced in the presence of allopregnanolone (0.1 μM) from 1.5 ± 0.7 to 0.1 ± 0.04 Hz. This action was partially reversed by Ro15-4513 (10 μM) but was not significantly influenced by flumazenil (10 μM). These findings suggest that the beneficial affects of Ro15-4513 in experimental HE result from attenuation of the effects of neurosteroids at GABA receptors. Our results may provide a rational basis for the use of benzodiazepine inverse agonists in the management and treatment of hepatic encephalopathy in patients with liver failure. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. A A A A A
Butterworth, R. F.,
Halliwell, R. F.
An interaction between benzodiazepines and neuroactive steroids at GABAA receptors in cultured hippocampal neurons.
Neurochemistry International, 48(8), 703–707.