High ethanol preference and dissociated memory are co-occurring phenotypes associated with hippocampal GABAAR-δ receptor levels

Vladimir Jovasevic, Jelena Radulovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Alcohol use disorder (AUD) frequently co-occurs with dissociative disorders and disorders with dissociative symptoms, suggesting a common neurobiological basis. It has been proposed that facilitated information processing under the influence of alcohol, resulting in the formation of dissociated memories, might be an important factor controlling alcohol use. Access to such memories is facilitated under the effect of alcohol, thus further reinforcing alcohol use. To interrogate possible mechanisms associated with these phenotypes, we used a mouse model of dissociative amnesia, combined with a high-alcohol preferring (HAP) model of AUD. Dissociated memory was induced by activation of hippocampal extrasynaptic GABA type A receptor delta subunits (GABAAR-δ), which control tonic inhibition and to which ethanol binds with high affinity. Increased ethanol preference was associated with increased propensity to form dissociated memories dependent on GABAAR-δ in the dorsal hippocampus (DH). Furthermore, the DH level of GABAAR-δ protein, but not mRNA, was increased in HAP mice, and was inversely correlated to the level of miR-365-3p, suggesting an miRNA-mediated post-transcriptional mechanism contributing to elevated GABAAR-δ. The observed changes of DH GABAAR-δ were associated with a severe reduction of excitatory projections stemming from GABAAR-δ-containing pyramidal neurons in the subiculum and terminating in the mammillary body. These results suggest that both molecular and circuit dysfunction involving hippocampal GABAAR-δ receptors might contribute to the co-occurrence of ethanol preference and dissociated information processing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107459
JournalNeurobiology of Learning and Memory
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Alcohol use disorder
  • GABA receptors
  • Hippocampus
  • Mammillary body
  • Memory
  • microRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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