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Functional Role for Mouse Cerebellar NO/cGMP/K(ATP) Pathway in Ethanol-Induced Ataxia


  • M. Saeed Dar

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Pharmacology, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina
    • Reprint requests: M. Saeed Dar, PhD, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27834; Tel.: 252-744-2885; Fax: 252-744-3203;

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We have previously shown that brain adenosine A1 receptors and nitric oxide (NO) play an important role in ethanol (EtOH)-induced cerebellar ataxia (EICA) through glutamate/NO/cGMP pathway. I now report possible modulation of EICA by the cerebellar NO/cGMP/K(ATP) pathway.


EICA was evaluated by Rotorod in CD-1 male mice. All drugs (K(ATP) activators pinacidil, 0.05, 0.1, 0.5 nmol; minoxidil, 0.01, 0.1, 1.0 pmol; antagonists glipizide/glibenclamide, 0.01, 0.05, 0.1 nmol; NO donor l-arginine, 20 nmol; NOS inhibitors [iNOS] inhibitor L-NAME, 50 nmol; glutamate, 1.5 nmol; adenosine A1 receptor agonist N6-cyclohexyladenosine [CHA], 6, 12 pmol; antagonist DPCPX, 0.1 or 0.4 nmol) were given by direct intracerebellar microinfusion via stereotaxically implanted guide cannulas, except EtOH (2 g/kg, i.p.).


Pinacidil and minoxidil dose-dependently accentuated, whereas glipizide and glibenclamide markedly attenuated EICA, indicating tonic participation of K(ATP) channels. Glipizide abolished the pinacidil potentiation of EICA, which confirmed both drugs acted via K(ATP) channels. A possible link between K(ATP) channels and glutamate/NO pathway was suggested when (i) CHA (12 pmol) totally abolished l-arginine-induced attenuation of EICA; (ii) L-NAME abolished l-arginine-induced attenuation of EICA associated with further increase in EICA; and (iii) the combined l-arginine and glutamate infusion virtually abolished EICA. Also, whereas CHA abolished glibenclamide-induced attenuation and potentiated pinacidil/minoxidil-induced accentuation of EICA, the effects of DPCPX were just the opposite to those of CHA.


The results with CHA therefore suggest a functional link between K(ATP) and A1 receptors and between K(ATP) and glutamate/NO and as an extension may involve participation of NO/cGMP/K(ATP) pathway in EICA.