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Trends Neurosci. 2007 Jan;30(1):1-8. Epub 2006 Nov 20.

GABA sets the tempo for activity-dependent adult neurogenesis.

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Institute for Cell Engineering, Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 733 North Broadway, BRB 735, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


GABA, a major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the adult brain, activates synaptic and extrasynaptic GABA(A) receptors, causing hyperpolarization of mature neurons. As in the embryonic nervous system, GABA depolarizes neural progenitors and immature neurons in the adult brain. Several recent studies have suggested that GABA has crucial roles in regulating different steps of adult neurogenesis, including proliferation of neural progenitors, migration and differentiation of neuroblasts, and synaptic integration of newborn neurons. Here, we review recent findings on how GABA regulates adult neurogenesis in the subventricular zone of the lateral ventricles and in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. We also discuss an emerging view that GABA serves as a key mediator of neuronal activity in setting the tempo of adult neurogenesis.

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