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Neurosteroidi: i modulatori endogeni delle emozioni

Biggio, Giovanni - Concas, Alessandra - Follesa, Paolo - Dazzi, Laura - Sanna, Enrico - Serra, Mariangela (2000) Neurosteroidi: i modulatori endogeni delle emozioni. Rendiconti del Seminario della Facoltà di Scienze dell'Università di Cagliari, 70 (Supple). pp. 50-74. ISSN 0370727X


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The discovery that facilitation or inhibition of γ aminobutyric acid (GABA)-mediated neurotransmission results in anxiolytic versus anxiogenic, hypnotic versus somnolitic, and anticonvulsant versus convulsant effects, respectively, provided important early insight into the physiology and pharmacology of central GABAergic transmission. This realization, together with subsequent evidence that high-affinity recognition sites for positive and negative allosteric modulators of GABAA receptors are located on these GABA-gated Cl– channels, led to the concept that GABAA receptors contribute directly not only to the pharmacology but also to the neurobiology and physiopathology of a variety of neurological and psychiatric diseases characterized by changes in emotional state, sleep pattern, or neuronal excitability. These findings have suggested the hypothesis that the brain and peripheral organs in mammals might produce endogenous compounds that selectively modulate central GABAA receptor function. Evidence directly supporting this hypothesis has been provided over the last decade by the discovery that steroid hormones synthesized in the brain or in peripheral organs are among the most selective, potent, and efficacious allosteric modulators of GABAA receptors. Neurosteroids are steroid derivatives that are synthesized de novo from cholesterol in the central nervous system (CNS), some of which modulate GABAA receptor function with potencies and efficacies similar to or greater than those of benzodiazepines and barbiturates. These molecules have thus been suggested to be the endogenous modulators of GABAA receptor–mediated neurotransmission. In fact some of these molecules have the capability to modulate synaptic activity by binding to membrane sites associated with ligand-gated ionotropic receptors including GABAA receptors. Here we summarize some of the most recent evidences obtained by our and other laboratories pertaining the role of two neuroactive steroids allopregnanolone (AP) and tetrahydrodeoxycorticosterone (THDOC) actives in modulating the function and plasticity of GABAA receptors in nature.

Item Type:Article
Institution:Università degli Studi di Cagliari
Divisions:Centri > Seminario Scientifico della Facolta' di Scienze MM.FF.NN.
Subjects:Area 05 - Scienze biologiche > BIO/14 Farmacologia
Uncontrolled Keywords:γ aminobutyric acid, anxiolytic, anxiogenic, somnolitic, GABA
ID Code:307
Deposited On:12 Nov 2008 11:31

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