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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Jan;294(1):E157-67. Epub 2007 Oct 30.

GABAB receptors and glucose homeostasis: evaluation in GABAB receptor knockout mice.

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Instituto de Biología y Medicina Experimental-Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


GABA has been proposed to inhibit insulin secretion through GABAB receptors (GABABRs) in pancreatic beta-cells. We investigated whether GABABRs participated in the regulation of glucose homeostasis in vivo. The animals used in this study were adult male and female BALB/C mice, mice deficient in the GABAB1 subunit of the GABABR (GABAB(-/-)), and wild types (WT). Blood glucose was measured under fasting/fed conditions and in glucose tolerance tests (GTTs) with a Lifescan Glucose meter, and serum insulin was measured by ELISA. Pancreatic insulin content and islet insulin were released by RIA. Western blots for the GABAB1 subunit in islet membranes and immunohistochemistry for insulin and GABAB1 were performed in both genotypes. BALB/C mice preinjected with Baclofen (GABABR agonist, 7.5 mg/kg ip) presented impaired GTTs and decreased insulin secretion compared with saline-preinjected controls. GABAB(-/-) mice showed fasting and fed glucose levels similar to WT. GABAB(-/-) mice showed improved GTTs at moderate glucose overloads (2 g/kg). Baclofen pretreatment did not modify GTTs in GABAB(-/-) mice, whereas it impaired normal glycemia reinstatement in WT. Baclofen inhibited glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in WT isolated islets but was without effect in GABAB(-/-) islets. In GABAB(-/-) males, pancreatic insulin content was increased, basal and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion were augmented, and impaired insulin tolerance test and increased homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance index were determined. Immunohistochemistry for insulin demonstrated an increase of very large islets in GABAB(-/-) males. Results demonstrate that GABABRs are involved in the regulation of glucose homeostasis in vivo and that the constitutive absence of GABABRs induces alterations in pancreatic histology, physiology, and insulin resistance.

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