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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Reduction of alcohol intake by the positive allosteric modulator of the GABAB receptor, rac-BHFF, in alcohol-preferring rats

Previous research has demonstrated that treatment with the positive allosteric modulator (PAM) of the GABAB receptor (GABAB PAM), rac-BHFF, suppressed lever-responding for alcohol and amount of self-administered alcohol in Sardinian alcohol-preferring (sP) rats. 

The present study was designed to extend the investigation on the anti-alcohol effects of rac-BHFF to alcohol drinking behavior. To this end, sP rats were exposed to the homecage, 2-bottle “alcohol (10%, v/v) vs water” choice regimen, with unlimited access for 24 h/day. rac-BHFF was administered once daily and for 7 consecutive days at the doses of 0, 50, 100, and 200 mg/kg (i.g.).

Treatment with rac-BHFF resulted in an immediate, stable, and dose-related reduction in daily alcohol intake; the overall magnitude of reduction in alcohol intake averaged approximately 25%, 40%, and 65% in 50, 100, and 200 mg/kg rac-BHFF-treated rat groups, respectively. An increase in daily water intake fully compensated the reduction in alcohol intake, so that daily total fluid intake was unaffected by treatment with rac-BHFF. Daily food intake tended to be reduced only by the highest dose of rac-BHFF.

These results complement closely with previous data indicating that (a) rac-BHFF suppressed operant, oral alcohol self-administration in sP rats and (b) the prototypic GABAB PAMs, CGP7930 and GS39783, reduced alcohol drinking in sP rats. 

However, while the reducing effect of CGP7930 and GS39783 on the daily alcohol intake tended to vanish after the first 2–3 days of treatment, the reducing effect of rac-BHFF on daily alcohol intake remained unchanged over the entire 7-day treatment period. 

These data strengthen the hypothesis that GABAB PAMs may represent a step forward in the search for GABAB receptor ligands with therapeutic potential for alcoholism.

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