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Avermectin B1a Modulation of γ-Aminobutyric Acid Receptors in Rat Brain Membranes


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Sheng Shung Pong, Merck Institute for Therapeutic Research, P.O. Box 2000, Rahway, New Jersey 07065, U.S.A.


Abstract: Avermectin B1a stimulates high-affinity binding of [3H]-γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) to receptors in washed rat brain membranes. Scatchard analysis of the data indicates that the drug does not significantly alter the apparent dissociation constant of GABA binding, but increases the detectable number of binding sites from 3.2 to 5.1 pmol/mg protein. (+)-Bicuculline completely blocks control and avermectin B1a-stimulated GABA binding, whereas picrotoxin antagonizes specifically the avermectin B1a-stimulated GABA binding. The avermectin B1a-stimulated GABA binding is also chloride ion-dependent, whereas GABA binding in the control is not. These observations suggest that the mechanism of avermectin B1a stimulation of GABA binding may involve the chloride ion channel.