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Trends Neurosci. 2004 May;27(5):262-9.

Tonically active GABA A receptors: modulating gain and maintaining the tone.

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1
Department of Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy, Institute of Neurology, University College London, Queen Square, London WC1N 3BG, UK. a.semyanov@ion.ucl.ac.uk

Abstract

GABAA receptors not only respond to the local release of GABA from presynaptic terminals, but can also mediate a persistent 'tonic current'. This reflects the activation of high-affinity GABAA receptors by ambient GABA concentrations. Tonic GABAA-receptor-mediated signalling occurs in different brain regions, shows cell-type-specific differences in magnitude and pharmacology, and changes during brain development. Some clues to the adaptive significance of this phenomenon are beginning to emerge: in cerebellar granule cells, it alters the gain of transmission of rate-coded sensory information; in the hippocampus, it acts in a cell-type-specific manner to regulate the excitability of the network. Because tonic conductances can be modulated by changes in GABA release and uptake, and by modulators of high-affinity GABAA receptors including neurosteroids, this phenomenon provides a potentially important new window onto neuronal information processing and pathological states such as epilepsy.

PMID:
15111008
DOI:
10.1016/j.tins.2004.03.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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