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Neuroscience. 2007 Dec 5;150(2):370-85. Epub 2007 Sep 12.

Forebrain and midbrain distribution of major benzodiazepine-sensitive GABAA receptor subunits in the adult C57 mouse as assessed with in situ hybridization.

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  • 1Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, 954 Gatewood Drive, Atlanta, GA 30329, USA.


In the adult brain, GABA is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter. Understanding of the behavioral and pharmacological functions of GABA has been advanced by recent studies of mouse lines that possess mutations in various GABA receptor subtypes and associated proteins. Genetically altered mice have become important tools for discerning GABAergic function. Thus detailed knowledge of the anatomical distribution of different GABA(A) subtype receptors in mice is a prerequisite for understanding the neural circuitry underlying changes in normal and drug-induced behaviors seen in mutated mice. In the current study, we used in situ hybridization histochemistry with [(35)S]UTP-labeled riboprobes to examine the regional expression pattern of mRNA transcripts for seven major GABA(A) receptor subunits in adjacent coronal brain sections (alpha 1, alpha 2, alpha 3, alpha 5, beta 2, beta 3, and gamma 2). Our results indicate that many of these GABAergic genes are co-expressed in much of the adult brain including the neocortex, hippocampus, amygdala, thalamus and striatum. However, each gene also shows a unique region-specific distribution pattern, indicative of distinct neuronal circuits that may serve specific physiological and pharmacological functions.

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