Ethanol effects on N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis

Wills, T.A.; Winder, D.G.

Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine 3(4): A012161

2013


ISSN/ISBN: 2157-1422
PMID: 23426579
DOI: 10.1101/cshperspect.a012161
Accession: 036831420

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Abstract
The extended amygdala is a series of interconnected, embryologically similar series of nuclei in the brain that are thought to play key roles in aspects of alcohol dependence, specifically in stress-induced increases in alcohol-seeking behaviors. Plasticity of excitatory transmission in these and other brain regions is currently an intense area of scrutiny as a mechanism underlying aspects of addiction. N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors (NMDARs) play a critical role in plasticity at excitatory synapses and have been identified as major molecular targets of ethanol. Thus, this article will explore alcohol and NMDAR interactions first at a general level and then focusing within the extended amygdala, in particular on the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST).