In the past decade, many studies have highlighted the role of metabotropic glutamate receptor subtype 5 (mGlu5) modulators in attenuating alcohol-related biological effects such as alcohol consumption, alcohol-seeking and relapse-like behaviors. Taken together, these findings suggest that pharmacological agents acting at mGlu5 could be promising tools in curbing inebriation. mGlu5s are present abundantly in brain regions known to be involved in emotion regulation, motivation and drug administration. On a cellular level, they are primarily located at the postsynaptic part of the neuron where the receptor is functionally linked to various downstream proteins that are involved in cell signaling and gene transcription that mediate the alcohol-induced neuroplasticity. As well, the discovery of a functional link between mGlu5 and a specific isozyme, Protein Kinase C epsilon (PKCε) in mediating the attenuating effects of selective negative allosteric modulators of mGlu5 such as methyl-6(phenylethynyl)pyridine (MPEP) and 3-((2-methyl-4-thiazolyl)ethynyl)pyridine (MTEP) has sparked interesting speculations. In this article, we shall review the following: the effects of acute and chronic alcohol intake on mGlu5 signaling; the effects of mGlu5 ligands on alcohol-related neurobehavioral changes that are currently being studied both at pre-clinical and clinical stages; and the mechanisms underlying the pharmacological effects of these drugs.
Keywords: calmodulin, ethanol, homer, mGlu5, postsynaptic density proteins
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