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Pediatr Neurol. 2001 Nov;25(5):390-6.

Development of GABAergic neurons and their transporter in human temporal cortex.

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First Department of Pediatrics, Toho University School of Medicine, Tokyo 143-8541, Japan.


The gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) system plays an important role in the early development of the hippocampal formation. The immunohistochemical expression of gamma-aminobutyric acid transporter-1, GAT-1, in the human developing temporal cortex was examined, and the distribution of GAT-1 was compared with that of the 67-kDa isoform of glutamic acid decarboxylase as a marker of GABAergic neurons. Four postmortem tissue specimens from young patients with hippocampal sclerosis were also examined. GAT-1 immunoreactivity was present, with a few puncta, in the neuropil of the stratum oriens and in the molecular layer of the dentate gyrus from 21-22 weeks of gestation, and in the stratum lacunosum-moleculare from 26 weeks of gestation. The peak expression of GAT-1 was seen in early infancy and that of glutamic acid decarboxylase in the perinatal period. These findings may reflect the development of GABAergic inhibitory systems, and may be related to the seizure susceptibility in infancy and early childhood. In the temporal lobes with hippocampal sclerosis, GAT-1 immunoreactivity of the neuropil was preserved in the vicinity of the neuronal loss of the hippocampus. This finding may result from the neurotrophic function of GAT-1 and may be related to its ability of neuronal repair and plasticity in childhood.

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