Neurosteroids and GABA

GABA is involved in the actions of neurosteroids, which are steroid hormones that are synthesized in the brain and are particularly relevant to reproductive behavior and stress responses. Neurosteroids can enhance GABA release. For example, some GABAer-gic neurons are stimulated by testosterone, via androgen receptors, and may mediate the action or secretion of other hormones. GABA can affect lordosis, the steroid-modulated behavior exhibited by sexually receptive female rats. GABA facilitates or inhibits lordosis depending on the specific region of the brain that is stimulated.

Neurosteroids can directly bind to and activate GABAA receptors to produce sedative, anticonvulsant, and anxiolytic effects in animals. Neurosteroids can also influence GABAA subunit expression. Anesthetic effects from neurosteroids are modulated by a different site on the receptor than other types of anesthetics, but the binding site is probably also within the pore. The a, g, and d subunits affect neurosteroid response but not necessarily GABA binding.

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