Ethanol and the benzodiazepine-GABA receptor-ionophore complex

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51 Scopus citations


Ethanol has a pharmacological profile similar to that of classes of drugs like benzodiazepines and barbiturates, which enhance GABAergic transmission in the mammalian CNS. Several lines of behavioral, electrophysiological and biochemical studies suggest that ethanol may bring about most of its effects by enhancing GABAergic transmission. Recently, ethanol at relevant pharmacological concentrations has been shown to enhance GABA-induced36Cl-fluxes in cultured spinal cord neurons, synaptoneurosomes and microsacs. These enhancing effects of ethanol were blocked by GABA antagonists. Ro15-4513, an azido analogue of classical BZ antagonist Ro15-1788, reversed most of the behavioral effects of ethanol and other effects involving36Cl-flux studies. The studies summarized below indicate that most of the pharmacological effects of ethanol can be related to its effects on GABAergic transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-418
Number of pages6
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1989


  • chloride channels
  • Ethanol
  • GABA receptor complex
  • Ro15-4513

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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