Background: Midazolam amplifies synaptic inhibition via different γ-aminobutyric acid type A (GABAA) receptor subtypes defined by the presence of α1-, α2-, α3-, or α5-subunits in the channel complex. Midazolam blocks long-term potentiation and produces postoperative amnesia. The aims of this study were to identify the GABAAreceptor subtypes targeted by midazolam responsible for affecting CA1 long-term potentiation and synaptic inhibition in neocortical neurons. Methods: The effects of midazolam on hippocampal CA1 long-term potentiation were studied in acutely prepared brain slices of male and female mice. Positive allosteric modulation on GABAAreceptor-mediated miniature inhibitory postsynaptic currents was investigated in organotypic slice cultures of the mouse neocortex. In both experiments, wild-type mice and GABAAreceptor knock-in mouse lines were compared in which α1-, α5-, α1/2/3-, α1/3/5- and α2/3/5-GABAAreceptor subtypes had been rendered benzodiazepine-insensitive. Results: Midazolam (10 nM) completely blocked long-term potentiation (mean ± SD, midazolam, 98 ± 11%, n = 14/8 slices/mice vs. control 156 ± 19%, n = 20/12; P < 0.001). Experiments in slices of α1-, α5-, α1/2/3-, α1/3/5-, and α2/3/5-knock-in mice revealed a dominant role for the α1-GABAAreceptor subtype in the long-term potentiation suppressing effect. In slices from wild-type mice, midazolam increased (mean ± SD) charge transfer of miniature synaptic events concentration-dependently (50 nM: 172 ± 71% [n = 10/6] vs. 500 nM: 236 ± 54% [n = 6/6]; P = 0.041). In α2/3/5-knock-in mice, charge transfer of miniature synaptic events did not further enhance when applying 500 nM midazolam (50 nM: 171 ± 62% [n = 8/6] vs. 500 nM: 175 ± 62% [n = 6/6]; P = 0.454), indicating two different binding affinities for midazolam to α2/3/5- and α1-subunits. Conclusions: These results demonstrate a predominant role of α1-GABAAreceptors in the actions of midazolam at low nanomolar concentrations. At higher concentrations, midazolam also enhances other GABAAreceptor subtypes. α1-GABAAreceptors may already contribute at sedative doses to the phenomenon of postoperative amnesia that has been reported after midazolam administration.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine