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Physiology (Bethesda). 2009 Jun;24:171-85. doi: 10.1152/physiol.00002.2009.

GABA's control of stem and cancer cell proliferation in adult neural and peripheral niches.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA.


Aside from traditional neurotransmission and regulation of secretion, gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) through GABA(A) receptors negatively regulates proliferation of pluripotent and neural stem cells in embryonic and adult tissue. There has also been evidence that GABAergic signaling and its control over proliferation is not only limited to the nervous system, but is widespread through peripheral organs containing adult stem cells. GABA has emerged as a tumor signaling molecule in the periphery that controls the proliferation of tumor cells and perhaps tumor stem cells. Here, we will discuss GABA's presence as a near-universal signal that may be altered in tumor cells resulting in modified mitotic activity.

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