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Nat Neurosci. 2003 May;6(5):484-90.

GABA uptake regulates cortical excitability via cell type-specific tonic inhibition.

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Department of Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy, Institute of Neurology, University College London, Queen Square, London WC1N 3BG, UK.


GABA(A) receptors can mediate both 'phasic' synaptic inhibition and a persistent 'tonic' form of signaling. We show that, in the presence of intact GABA uptake, guinea pig hippocampal interneurons, but not pyramidal cells, express a tonic GABA(A) receptor-mediated conductance. This conductance was pharmacologically distinct from spontaneous inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs). Inhibiting GABA uptake resulted in the expression of a comparable GABA(A) receptor-mediated tonic conductance in pyramidal cells. Reducing the tonic conductance in interneurons enhanced their excitability and the inhibitory drive to pyramidal cells. These results point to a role for cell type-dependent tonic inhibition in regulating cortical excitability.

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