Behavioral effects of γ-hydroxybutyrate, its precursor γ-butyrolactone, and GABAB receptor agonists: Time course and differential antagonism by the GABAB receptor antagonist 3-aminopropyl(diethoxymethyl)phosphinic acid (CGP35348)

Wouter Koek, Susan L. Mercer, Andrew Coop, Charles P. France

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


γ-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is used therapeutically and recreationally. The mechanism by which GHB produces its therapeutic and recreational effects is not entirely clear, although GABAB receptors seem to play an important role. This role could be complex, because there are indications that different GABAB receptor mechanisms mediate the effects of GHB and the prototypical GABAB receptor agonist baclofen. To further explore possible differences in underlying GABAB receptor mechanisms, the present study examined the effects of GHB and baclofen on operant responding and their antagonism by the GABAB receptor antagonist 3-aminopropyl(diethoxymethyl) phosphinic acid (CGP35348). Pigeons were trained to peck a key for access to food during response periods that started at different times after the beginning of the session. In these pigeons, GHB, its precursor γ-butyrolactone (GBL), and the GABAB receptor agonists baclofen and 3-aminopropyl(methyl) phosphinic acid hydrochloride (SKF97541) decreased the rate of responding in a dose- and time-dependent manner. CGP35348 shifted the dose-response curve of each agonist to the right, but the magnitude of the shift differed among the agonists. Schild analysis yielded a pA2 value of CGP35348 to antagonize GHB and GBL [i.e., 3.9 (3.7- 4.2)] that was different (P = 0.0011) from the pA2 value to antagonize baclofen and SKF97541 [i.e., 4.5 (4.4-4.7)]. This finding is further evidence that the GABAB receptor mechanisms mediating the effects of GHB and prototypical GABAB receptor agonists are not identical. A better understanding of the similarities and differences between these mechanisms, and their involvement in the therapeutic effects of GHB and baclofen, could lead to more effective medications with fewer adverse effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)876-883
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 21 2009


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology

Cite this