GIRK Channels: A Potential Link Between Learning and Addiction

Megan E. Tipps, Kari J. Buck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The ability of drug-associated cues to reinitiate drug craving and seeking, even after long periods of abstinence, has led to the hypothesis that addiction represents a form of pathological learning, in which drugs of abuse hijack normal learning and memory processes to support long-term addictive behaviors. In this chapter, we review evidence suggesting that G protein-gated inwardly rectifying potassium (GIRK/Kir3) channels are one mechanism through which numerous drugs of abuse can modulate learning and memory processes. We will examine the role of GIRK channels in two forms of experience-dependent long-term changes in neuronal function: homeostatic plasticity and synaptic plasticity. We will also discuss how drug-induced changes in GIRK-mediated signaling can lead to changes that support the development and maintenance of addiction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-277
Number of pages39
JournalInternational Review of Neurobiology
StatePublished - 2015


  • Addiction
  • Depotentiation
  • GIRK
  • Homeostatic plasticity
  • Kir3
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Synaptic plasticity

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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