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J Comp Physiol A Neuroethol Sens Neural Behav Physiol. 2011 Sep;197(9):923-38. doi: 10.1007/s00359-011-0653-6. Epub 2011 May 31.

GABA and GAD expression in the X-organ sinus gland system of the Procambarus clarkii crayfish: inhibition mediated by GABA between X-organ neurons.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, Biophysics and Neurosciences, CINVESTAV-IPN, Mexico City, Mexico.


In crustaceans, the X-organ-sinus gland (XO-SG) neurosecretory system is formed of distinct populations of neurons that produce two families of neuropeptides: crustacean hyperglycemic hormone and adipokinetic hormone/red pigment-concentrating hormone. On the basis of electrophysiological evidence, it has been proposed that γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) regulates both electrical and secretory activity of the XO-SG system. In this work we observed that depolarizing current pulses to neurons located in the external rim of the X-organ induced repetitive firing that suppressed the spontaneous firing of previously active X-organ neurons. Picrotoxin reversibly blocked this inhibitory effect suggesting that the GABA released from the stimulated neuron inhibited neighboring cells. Immunoperoxidase in X-organ serial sections showed co-localization of GABA and glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) including the aforementioned neurons. Immunofluorescence in whole mount preparations showed that two subpopulations of crustacean hyperglycemic hormone-containing neurons colocalized with GABA. The expression of GAD mRNA was determined in crayfish tissue and X-organ single cells by RT-PCR. Bioinformatics analysis shows, within the amplified region, 90.4% consensus and 41.9% identity at the amino acid level compared with Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans. We suggest that crustacean hyperglycemic hormone-GABA-containing neurons can regulate the excitability of other X-organ neurons that produce different neurohormones.

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