Chlorzoxazone, an SK-type potassium channel activator used in humans, reduces excessive alcohol intake in rats

Hopf, F. Woodward, Simms, Jeffrey, Chang, Shao-Ju, Seif, Taban, Bartlett, Selena, & Bonci, Antonello (2011) Chlorzoxazone, an SK-type potassium channel activator used in humans, reduces excessive alcohol intake in rats. Biological Psychiatry, 69(7), pp. 618-624.

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Alcoholism imposes a tremendous social and economic burden. There are relatively few pharmacological treatments for alcoholism, with only moderate efficacy, and there is considerable interest in identifying additional therapeutic options. Alcohol exposure alters SK-type potassium channel (SK) function in limbic brain regions. Thus, positive SK modulators such as chlorzoxazone (CZX), a US Food and Drug Administration–approved centrally acting myorelaxant, might enhance SK function and decrease neuronal activity, resulting in reduced alcohol intake. Methods

We examined whether CZX reduced alcohol consumption under two-bottle choice (20% alcohol and water) in rats with intermittent access to alcohol (IAA) or continuous access to alcohol (CAA). In addition, we used ex vivo electrophysiology to determine whether SK inhibition and activation can alter firing of nucleus accumbens (NAcb) core medium spiny neurons. Results

Chlorzoxazone significantly and dose-dependently decreased alcohol but not water intake in IAA rats, with no effects in CAA rats. Chlorzoxazone also reduced alcohol preference in IAA but not CAA rats and reduced the tendency for rapid initial alcohol consumption in IAA rats. Chlorzoxazone reduction of IAA drinking was not explained by locomotor effects. Finally, NAcb core neurons ex vivo showed enhanced firing, reduced SK regulation of firing, and greater CZX inhibition of firing in IAA versus CAA rats. Conclusions

The potent CZX-induced reduction of excessive IAA alcohol intake, with no effect on the more moderate intake in CAA rats, might reflect the greater CZX reduction in IAA NAcb core firing observed ex vivo. Thus, CZX could represent a novel and immediately accessible pharmacotherapeutic intervention for human alcoholism.

Key Words: Alcohol intake; intermittent; neuro-adaptation; nucleus accumbens; SK potassium channel

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ID Code: 44593
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Alcohol intake, intermittent, neuro-adaptation, nucleus accumbens, SK potassium channel
DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2010.11.011
ISSN: 0006-3223
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES (060000) > BIOCHEMISTRY AND CELL BIOLOGY (060100)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Deposited On: 24 Aug 2011 22:12
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2012 01:46

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