l-Serine induces sedative and hypnotic effects acting at GABAA receptors in neonatal chicks

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Intracerebroventricular injection of l-serine has been shown to have sedative and hypnotic effects on neonatal chicks exposed to acute stressful conditions. However, the mechanism by which l-serine induces these effects is unclear. The present study was conducted to clarify the mechanism by l-serine. The involvement of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)A receptors on the effect of l-serine was investigated using the GABAA receptor antagonist picrotoxin. Co-administration of picrotoxin attenuated the sedative and hypnotic effect of l-serine. Further, we also investigated the involvement of glycine receptors since l-serine is suggested to act as the α-homomeric glycine receptor agonist. Glycine similarly induced sedative and hypnotic effects in chicks, but its effect was attenuated by the glycine receptor antagonist strychnine. Therefore, whether the effect of l-serine was mediated through the glycine receptor was investigated using l-serine and strychnine. The effect of l-serine was inhibited by picrotoxin, but not strychnine. It appears that l-serine induces sedative and hypnotic effects by enhancing inhibitory neurotransmission via GABAA receptors.

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