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Mol Cell Biochem. 2005 May;273(1-2):117-26.

Expression of GABA(A) and GABA(B) receptors in rat growth plate chondrocytes: activation of the GABA receptors promotes proliferation of mouse chondrogenic ATDC5 cells.

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Department of Anatomy, Osaka Medical College, Takatsuki, Osaka, Japan.


Our previous study showed the local production of gamma-aminobutyrate (GABA) in hypertrophic-zone chondrocytes of the rat tibial growth plate, an important long bone growth site. The aim of this study was to identify the presence of GABA receptors in growth plate chondrocytes by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and immunohistochemistry. Chondrocytes expressed both GABA(A) and GABA(B) receptor subunit mRNAs as well as the corresponding proteins necessary for the assembly of functional receptors. The GABA(A) receptor subunits detected included alpha1-alpha4, alpha6, beta1-beta3, and delta, and both R1 and R2 subunits of GABA(B) receptors were detected. All receptor subunits were expressed in chondrocytes of the proliferative and hypertrophic zones. These results suggest that GABA is an autocrine/paracrine factor that regulates the physiological state of the growth plate. Subsequent studies with the mouse chondrogenic cell line ATDC5 showed the presence of mRNAs and the corresponding proteins for GABA(A) receptor alpha1, beta2, and beta3 subunits and GABA(B) receptor R1 and R2 subunits. GABA, muscimol (a GABA(A) receptor agonist), and baclofen (a GABA(B) receptor agonist) increased 5-bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation into ATDC5 cells. The effect of muscimol was blocked by bicuculline (a GABA(A) receptor antagonist), and the effect of baclofen was blocked by CGP 35348 (a GABA(B) receptor antagonist). These results suggest that GABA contributes to the ATDC5 cell proliferation via GABA(A) and GABA(B) receptors and these mechanisms may be involved in cartilaginous cell growth.

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