Identification of the primary brain molecular targets of ethanol (EtOH) and determination of their functional roles is an ongoing, important task. Pentameric ligand-gated ion channels, i.e., the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, the γ-aminobutyric acid type A receptor, 5-hydroxytryptamine3, and the glycine receptor (GlyR) are such targets. Here we briefly review aspects of the structure and function of these receptors and the interaction of EtOH with them, with particular emphasis on the GlyR and the importance of this receptor and its ligands for EtOH pharmacology.
GlyRs are thought to be involved in (i) the dopamine-activating effects of EtOH, (ii) the regulation of EtOH uptake, and (iii) the relapse-preventing effects of acamprosate. Exploration of the GlyR subtypes involved and efforts to develop subtype-specific agonists or antagonists may provide new pharmacotherapies for alcohol disorders.
Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2017 Nov;41(11):1816-1830. | The Glycine Receptor-A Functionally Important Primary Brain Target of Ethanol.
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