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Int J Dev Neurosci. 2000 Oct;18(6):565-72.

Neonatal 6-hydroxydopamine treatment affects GABA(A) receptor subunit expression during postnatal development of the rat cerebellum.

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  • 1International Graduate School of Neuroscience, Medical School, University of Tampere, PO Box 607, 33101, Tampere, Finland.


Neurotoxic elimination of noradrenergic terminals by 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) leads to alteration of the granule cell layer formation. We have studied the developmental expression of GABA(A) receptor subunits in rat cerebellum after neonatal administration of 6-OHDA during the first postnatal month of life. 6-OHDA was injected subcutaneously. The expression of GABA(A) receptor subunits was studied by in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. The alterations were observed in the neocerebellum - the part of the cerebellum which starts development postnatally. The migration of granule cells was delayed, and the total area of the granule cell layer in the neocerebellum from 6-OHDA-treated rats was reduced to 22.6+/-5% of the corresponding area from control rats. In situ hybridization with subunit-specific antisense oligonucleotide probes was performed for alpha1, alpha2, alpha3, alpha5, alpha6, beta1, beta2, gamma1 and gamma2 subunits of the GABA(A) receptor. In neocerebellum, 6-OHDA treatment caused a significant reduction in the alpha1, alpha6 and gamma2 subunit mRNA levels. The expression of the other subunits was not changed. It has been shown that in the postnatal cerebellum alpha1 and alpha6 subunits can be detected in granule cells only when the cells had migrated to their final destination. Our findings indicate that a noradrenergic influence may be necessary for the normal maturation and migration of cerebellar granule cells.

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