NeuropharmacologyDifferential alcohol modulation of GABAA and NMDA receptorsPeoples, Robert W.1,2; Weight, Forrest F.1 Author Information 1Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, Park 5 Bldg., Rm. 158, 12420 Parklawn Dr., MSC 8115, Bethesda, MD 20892–8115, USA 2Corresponding Author: Robert W. Peoples ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: We thank Dr Amir Ghazanfari and Anna-Maria Vasquez for technical assistance. Received 23 September 1998; accepted 28 October 1998 NeuroReport: January 18, 1999 - Volume 10 - Issue 1 - p 97-101 Buy Abstract NMDA and GABAA receptors are believed to be important CNS targets of alcohol action. In mouse hippocampal neurons, n-alcohols from ethanol to dodecanol enhanced GABA-activated ion current, whereas higher alcohols had no effect. Alcohols below pentanol affected NMDA receptors more potently than GABAA receptors. Increasing alcohol carbon chain length produced a greater average change in apparent binding energy and potency for modulation of GABAA than of NMDA receptor-channels, with the result that alcohols above pentanol affected GABAA receptors more potently than NMDA receptors. The anesthetic potency of n-alcohols in rats more closely reflected NMDA receptor modulatory potency for lower alcohols and GABAA receptor modulatory potency for higher alcohols. The results suggest that there may be fundamental differences in the sites through which alcohols affect NMDA and GABAA receptor function. © 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.