Medical College of Wisconsin
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Synaptosomal uptake of choline and of gamma-aminobutyric acid: effects of ethanol and of dimethylsulfoxide. Neurotoxicology 1989;10(3):569-76



Pubmed ID


Scopus ID

2-s2.0-0024887491 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   8 Citations


We have characterized the interactive effects of ethanol and dimethylsulfoxide on synaptosomal uptakes of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and choline. Ethanol is a membrane-disordering agent which has been shown to inhibit synaptosomal high-affinity choline uptake at pharmacologically relevant ethanol concentrations, and to inhibit synaptosomal GABA uptake at higher ethanol concentrations. Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) is an organic solvent which has been shown to have a stabilizing effect on artificial phospholipid bilayers, and to have effects on conformation of and cation binding to brain (Na+, K+)-ATPase which are opposite those of ethanol. DMSO alone (2-10% v/v) inhibited synaptosomal uptakes of GABA and of choline in a concentration-dependent fashion, with choline uptake inhibited to a greater degree than GABA uptake. This result is qualitatively similar to the effects of ethanol on these uptake processes. DMSO at low concentrations (0.3-1.5% v/v) had no effect on inhibition of GABA and choline uptake by 0.6 M ethanol, and higher DMSO concentrations resulted only in further inhibition. Similarly, ethanol (0.3 M) had no effect on inhibition of GABA and choline uptake by 5% (v/v) DMSO, and higher ethanol concentrations (0.6-1.2 M) resulted only in further inhibition. We conclude that the inhibiting effects of ethanol on synaptosomal GABA and choline uptake are not reversed by DMSO.

Author List

North PE, Mrak RE


Paula E. North MD, PhD Professor in the Pathology department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Dimethyl Sulfoxide
In Vitro Techniques
Membrane Fluidity
Microscopy, Electron
Rats, Inbred Strains
gamma-Aminobutyric Acid