Zolpidem and eszopiclone prime α1β2γ2 GABAA receptors for longer duration of activity

Christine L Dixon, Neil L Harrison, Joseph W Lynch and Angelo Keramidas

Zolpidem and eszopiclone prime 122 GABAA receptors for longer duration of activity BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE GABAA receptors mediate neuronal inhibition in the brain. They are the primary targets for benzodiazepines, which are widely used to treat neurological disorders including anxiety, epilepsy and insomnia. The mechanism by which benzodiazepines enhance GABAA receptor activity has been extensively studied, but there is little mechanistic information on how non-benzodiazepine drugs that bind to the same site exert their effects. Eszopiclone and zolpidem are two non-benzodiazepine drugs for which no mechanism of action has yet been proposed, despite their clinical importance as sleeping aids. Here we investigate how both drugs enhance the activity of α1β2γ2 GABAA receptors.