Neuroactive steroids have some of their most potent actions by augmenting the function of GABAA receptors. Endogenous steroid actions on GABAA receptors may underlie important effects on mood and behavior. Exogenous neuroactive steroids have potential as anesthetics, anticonvulsants, and neuroprotectants. We have taken multiple approaches to understand more completely the interaction of neuroactive steroids with GABAA receptors. We have developed many novel steroid analogues in this effort. Recent work has resulted in synthesis of new enantiomer analogue pairs, novel ligands that probe various properties of the steroid pharmacophore, fluorescent neuroactive steroid analogues, and photoaffinity labels. Using these tools, combined with receptor binding and electrophysiological assays, we have begun to untangle the complexity of steroid actions at this important class of ligand-gated ion channel.
- Photoaffinity label