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The Glycine Receptor—A Functionally Important Primary Brain Target of Ethanol

Journal article
Authors Bo Söderpalm
Helga Lidö Höifödt
Mia Ericson
Published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Volume 41
Issue 11
Pages 1816-1830
ISSN 0145-6008
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Pages 1816-1830
Language en
Keywords Dopamine, Ethanol, Glycine Receptor, Pentameric Ligand-Gated Ion Channels, Taurine
Subject categories Neurology, Substance Abuse


Identification of ethanol's (EtOH) primary molecular brain targets and determination of their functional role is an ongoing, important quest. Pentameric ligand-gated ion channels, that is, the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, the γ-aminobutyric acid type A receptor, the 5-hydroxytryptamine3, and the glycine receptor (GlyR), are such targets. Here, aspects of the structure and function of these receptors and EtOH's interaction with them are briefly reviewed, with special emphasis on the GlyR and the importance of this receptor and its ligands for EtOH pharmacology. It is suggested that GlyRs are involved in (i) the dopamine-activating effect of EtOH, (ii) regulating EtOH intake, and (iii) the relapse preventing effect of acamprosate. Exploration of the GlyR subtypes involved and efforts to develop subtype specific agonists or antagonists may offer new pharmacotherapies for alcohol use disorders. Copyright © 2017 by the Research Society on Alcoholism

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