GIRK Channels: A Potential Link Between Learning and Addiction

Megan E. Tipps, Kari J. Buck

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

13 Scopus citations


The ability of drug-associated cues to reinitiate drug craving and seeking, even after long periods of abstinence, has led to the hypothesis that addiction represents a form of pathological learning, in which drugs of abuse hijack normal learning and memory processes to support long-term addictive behaviors. In this chapter, we review evidence suggesting that G protein-gated inwardly rectifying potassium (GIRK/Kir3) channels are one mechanism through which numerous drugs of abuse can modulate learning and memory processes. We will examine the role of GIRK channels in two forms of experience-dependent long-term changes in neuronal function: homeostatic plasticity and synaptic plasticity. We will also discuss how drug-induced changes in GIRK-mediated signaling can lead to changes that support the development and maintenance of addiction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Review of Neurobiology - Structure to Function of G Protein-Gated Inwardly Rectifying (GIRK) Channels, 2015
EditorsR. Adron Harris, Peter Jenner
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages39
ISBN (Print)9780128024584
StatePublished - 2015

Publication series

NameInternational Review of Neurobiology
ISSN (Print)0074-7742
ISSN (Electronic)2162-5514


  • Addiction
  • Depotentiation
  • GIRK
  • Homeostatic plasticity
  • Kir3
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Synaptic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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