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Science 303 (5663): 1512-1514

Copyright © 2004 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Ethanol Augments GABAergic Transmission in the Central Amygdala via CRF1 Receptors

Zhiguo Nie,1 Paul Schweitzer,1 Amanda J. Roberts,1 Samuel G. Madamba,1 Scott D. Moore,2 George Robert Siggins1*

Abstract: The central amygdala (CeA) plays a role in the relationship among stress, corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), and alcohol abuse. In whole-cell recordings, both CRF and ethanol enhanced {gamma}-aminobutyric acid–mediated (GABAergic) neurotransmission in CeA neurons from wild-type and CRF2 receptor knockout mice, but not CRF1 receptor knockout mice. CRF1 (but not CRF2) receptor antagonists blocked both CRF and ethanol effects in wild-type mice. These data indicate that CRF1 receptors mediate ethanol enhancement of GABAergic synaptic transmission in the CeA, and they suggest a cellular mechanism underlying involvement of CRF in ethanol's behavioral and motivational effects.

1 Department of Neuropharmacology and Alcohol Research Center, Scripps Research Institute, 10550 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.
2 Department of Psychiatry, Duke University, Durham, NC 27710, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: geobob{at}

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