Multiple sources of internal calcium stores mediate ethanol-induced presynaptic inhibitory GABA release in the central nucleus of the amygdala in mice.Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2020 Nov; 237(11):3303-3314.P
Ethanol can enhance GABA release in various brain regions via presynaptic mechanisms. However, the presynaptic action of ethanol on inhibitory GABA release is still not well understood.
Since calcium is required for neurotransmitter release from presynaptic terminals, the purpose of this study was to investigate the role of both internal and external calcium signaling in ethanol-induced enhancement of GABA release within the central amygdala nucleus (CeA) in acute brain slice preparations.
Whole-cell patch clamp electrophysiology was used to record miniature GABAA receptor-mediated inhibitory postsynaptic currents (mIPSCs) from CeA neurons. Ethanol-enhanced mIPSCs were recorded in the presence of antagonists that regulate internal and external calcium-mediated processes.
Bath-applied ethanol dose-dependently increased the mean frequency of mIPSCs without altering mIPSC amplitude. Ethanol-induced increases in mIPSC frequency were antagonized by dantrolene, 2-APB, and the endoplasmic reticulum calcium pump (SERCA) antagonists thapsigargin and cyclopiazonic acid (CPA). Blocking calcium release from mitochondria or via exocytosis with ruthenium red also attenuated mIPSCs while frequency was not altered in the presence of a non-selective calcium channel blocker cadmium. The L-type calcium blocker nifedipine, but not its analogue nimodipine, blocked ethanol-induced enhancement in CeA neurons.
These results demonstrate ethanol-induced presynaptic release of GABA is mediated by internal calcium stores and by disrupting neurotransmitter exocytosis within the CeA, a critical brain area involved in drugs of abuse and alcohol addiction.