Tolerance and antagonism to allopregnanolone effects in the rat CNS
Many studies have suggested a relationship between sex steroids and negative mental and mood changes in women. Allopregnanolone, a potent endogenous ligand of the GABA-A receptor and a metabolite of progesterone, is one of the most accused neuroactive steroids. Variations in the levels of neuroactive steroids that influence the activity of the GABA-A receptor cause a vulnerability to mental and emotional pathology. In women, there are physiological conditions in which allopregnanolone production increases acutely (e.g. stress) or chronically (e.g. menstrual cycle, pregnancy), thus exposing the GABA-A receptor to high allopregnanolone concentrations. In such conditions, tolerance to allopregnanolone probably develops.We have evaluated the 3?-hydroxy pregnane steroid UC1011 as a functional antagonist to allopregnanolone-induced negative effects in rats. In vivo, we used the Morris Water Maze (MWM) test of learning and, in vitro, we studied chloride ion uptake into cortical and hippocampal membrane preparations. The steroid UC1011 reduces the allopregnanolone-induced learning impairment in the MWM and the increase in chloride ion uptake induced by allopregnanolone. To detect whether chronic tolerance develops to an allopregnanolone-induced condition, male rats were pretreated with allopregnanolone injections for three or seven days. These rats were then tested in the Morris Water Maze for five days and compared with relevant controls. Rats with seven days’ allopregnanolone pretreatment experienced improved performance compared with the acutely allopregnanolone-exposed group, reflecting chronic tolerance development. To study the GABA-A receptor changes in acute allopregnanolone tolerance, we used the silent second (SS) anaesthesia threshold method. At acute tolerance, 90 minutes of anaesthesia, the abundance of the GABA-A receptor ?4 subunit and the expression of the ?4 subunit mRNA in the thalamus ventral-posteriomedial (VPM) nucleus were reduced. There was also a significant negative correlation between the increase in the allopregnanolone dose needed to maintain anaesthesia and the ?4 mRNA in the VPM nucleus. We also investigated whether allopregnanolone tolerance was still present one or two days after the end of the anaesthesia-induced acute tolerance. Tolerance persisted to one day, but not two days, after the treatment and the ?4 subunit mRNA expression in the VPM nucleus was negatively related to the allopregnanolone doses needed after one day.In conclusion, the current thesis shows that the substance UC1011 can reduce the allopregnanolone-induced negative effects in the water maze test. Chronic allopregnanolone tolerance can develop to the effects of allopregnanolone. Allopregnanolone tolerance persists one day after the induction of acute allopregnanolone tolerance. The GABA-A receptor ?4 subunit in the thalamus might be involved in the development and persistence of acute tolerance to allopregnanolone.
Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation
Keywords:MEDICINE; Surgery; Obstetrics and women's diseases; Obstetrics and gynaecology; Allopregnanolone; GABA-A receptor; UC1011; Spatial memory; Morris Water Maze; Tolerance; Silent second; mRNA
Date of Publication:01/01/2006