Contribution of P2X4 receptors to ethanol intake in male C57BL/6 mice

Letisha R. Wyatt, Deborah A. Finn, Sheraz Khoja, Megan M. Yardley, Liana Asatryan, Ronald L. Alkana, Daryl L. Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


P2X receptors (P2XRs) are a family of cation-permeable ligand-gated ion channels activated by synaptically released extracellular adenosine 5′-triphosphate. The P2X4 subtype is abundantly expressed in the central nervous system and is sensitive to low intoxicating ethanol concentrations. Genetic meta-analyses identified the p2rx4 gene as a candidate gene for innate alcohol intake and/or preference. The current study used mice lacking the p2rx4 gene (knockout, KO) and wildtype (WT) C57BL/6 controls to test the hypothesis that P2X4Rs contribute to ethanol intake. The early acquisition and early maintenance phases of ethanol intake were measured with three different drinking procedures. Further, we tested the effects of ivermectin (IVM), a drug previously shown to reduce ethanol's effects on P2X4Rs and to reduce ethanol intake and preference, for its ability to differentially alter stable ethanol intake in KO and WT mice. Depending on the procedure and the concentration of the ethanol solution, ethanol intake was transiently increased in P2X4R KO versus WT mice during the acquisition of 24-h and limited access ethanol intake. IVM significantly reduced ethanol intake in P2X4R KO and WT mice, but the degree of reduction was 50% less in the P2X4R KO mice. Western blot analysis identified significant changes in γ-aminobutyric acidA receptor α1 subunit expression in brain regions associated with the regulation of ethanol behaviors in P2X4R KO mice. These findings add to evidence that P2X4Rs contribute to ethanol intake and indicate that there is a complex interaction between P2X4Rs, ethanol, and other neurotransmitter receptor systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1127-1139
Number of pages13
JournalNeurochemical Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Alcohol use disorders (AUDs)
  • Ethanol acquisition
  • P2rx4 gene
  • P2x4 receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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