Integrated channel plasticity contributes to alcohol tolerance in neurohypophysial terminals
Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Department of Neurobiology; Department of Physiology
Medical Subject Headings
Animals; Calcium Channels, L-Type; Central Nervous System Depressants; *Drug Tolerance; Electrophysiology; Ethanol; Hormones; Kinetics; Male; Pituitary Gland, Posterior; Potassium Channels, Calcium-Activated; Rats; Rats, Sprague-Dawley
Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences
Short-term ethanol challenge results in the reduction of peptide hormone release from the rat neurohypophysis. However, rats that have been maintained on an ethanol-containing diet for 3 to 4 weeks exhibit tolerance to this effect. Mechanistic underpinnings of this tolerance were probed by examining four ion channel conductances critical for neurohormone release. The voltage-gated L-type calcium channel and the functionally linked calcium-activated BK channel represent a functional dyad. Although these channels show opposite drug responses in the naive terminal (i.e., the L-type Ca2+ channel is inhibited whereas the BK channel is potentiated), the effect of long-term alcohol exposure is to decrease sensitivity to the short-term administration of drug in both instances. In addition to the shift in sensitivity, current density increased for the L-type Ca2+ current and decreased for the BK current, consistent with a compensatory change. Sensitivity to alcohol was also altered for two other channel types studied. Inhibition of the voltage-gated transient Ca2+ current was lessened after long-term treatment. I(A,) which is not sensitive to the drug at clinically relevant concentrations in terminals from the naive rat, acquires sensitivity after long-term exposure, representing a potentially novel type of tolerance. However, neither the transient Ca2+ current nor I(A) shows a change in current density, demonstrating the selectivity of this aspect of tolerance. Overall, these results demonstrate that channel plasticity can explain at least a portion of the behavioral tolerance resulting from changes in sensitivity of peptide hormone release. Furthermore, they suggest that an understanding of tolerance requires the examination of dynamically coupled channel populations.
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Citation: Mol Pharmacol. 2002 Jul;62(1):135-42.