Transient increase in the in vivo binding of the benzodiazepine antagonist [3H]flumazenil in deafferented visual areas of the adult mouse brain

Igal Madar, Ursula Scheffel, J. James Frost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Flumazer it is an imidazobenzodiazepine, an antagonist of central benzodiazepine (BDZ) receptors. BDZ binding sites are a modulatory component located on the gamma‐aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptor macromolecule. We studied the effect of monocular enucleation on [3H]flumazenil binding in deprived and intact visual areas and nonvisual areas of the adult mouse brain under in vivo conditions. [3H]flumazenil binding was examined at seven time points up to 56 days postenucleation. In some monocularly deprived mice, changes in local blood flow accompanied with the BDZ receptor response were evaluated by coinjection of [3H]flumazenil and 9mTc‐HMPAO. Monocular enucleation produced a transient increase in [3H]flumazenil binding in the deprived visual cortex and superior colliculus. At 17 days postenucleation, [3H]flumazenil binding in the anterior and posterior portions of the visual cortex and the superior colliculus increased by 28%, 15% and 23%, respectively, and declined to control levels at 45 days postenucleation. The increase in [3H]flumazenil was accompanied with a decrease in blood flow. Alterations in BDZ receptors and blood flow were selective to deprived visual structures. The regional correlation between the metabolic deficit and the BDZ response provides further support that the increase in BDZ receptor binding is confined to regions of reduced neuronal activity. [11C]flumazenil is an excellent radiotracer for in vivo imaging of benzodiazepine receptors in human brain using positron emission tomography (PET). This study suggests the suitability of [11C]flumazenil for in vivo PET study of BDZ receptor response to deafferentation of visual structures in human brain. © 1994 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-85
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Benzodiazepine receptors
  • Flumazenil
  • In vivo binding
  • Mice
  • Superior colliculus
  • Visual cortex
  • Visual deprivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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