Finding a New Target for ET Therapy Conclusion

This study attempts to understand the inner workings of GABA receptors, specifically the single delta subtype. It was noted that low-dose alcohol seems to favor delta GABA receptors and might represent a possible anti-tremor target.

It was found that low doses of alcohol equivalent to two glasses of wine suppress some harmaline tremor in mice. However, in the group of mice with the delta receptor knocked out, no change was seen until the dose was raised from 0.3 g/kg to0.7g/kg. At that point, some harmaline tremor was suppressed. This suggests a non-delta receptor moderates alcohol’s action.

The effect of alcohol on GABA receptors is controversial and requires quite a bit more study to truly understand the mechanisms at work. However, this study does support the idea that delta GABA is a viable target for ET drug development. More work definitely needs to be done in this area.

Thankfully, Dr. Handforth has received a three-year grant from the VA to replicate and extend this work with the goal of furthering the development of an effective treatment for ET that acts on a delta GABA receptor.