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J Comp Neurol. 1991 May 1;307(1):131-43.

Evidence for the presence, synthesis, immunoreactivity, and uptake of GABA in the nervous system of the snail Helisoma trivolvis.

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Department of Medical Physiology, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


In the present study several techniques were employed to test the hypothesis that gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system (CNS) of the pond snail Helisoma trivolvis (Mollusca, Pulmonata). First, by using chromatographic techniques, the presence of GABA and its differential distribution among the ganglia constituting the CNS was demonstrated. Second, de novo synthesis of 3H-GABA from 3H-glutamate was shown by the CNS. Levels of both endogenous and newly synthesized GABA were greatest in the buccal, cerebral, and pedal ganglia. Third, indirect immunohistochemistry of wholemounts revealed a central network of GABA-like immunoreactive neurons. With the possible exceptions of two pairs of fibers in nerve trunks, all projections from GABA-immunoreactive neurons were confined to the CNS, suggesting a predominantly central role for GABA. Stained neurons were found on the dorsal surface of the buccal ganglia and throughout the cerebral and pedal ganglia. No GABA-immunoreactive cell bodies were observed in the parietal, pleural, or visceral ganglia. Finally, uptake of 3H-GABA was examined autoradiographically in sectioned ganglia. A pattern of radiolabelled cells was observed that closely resembled the distribution of GABA-immunoreactive neurons. The data described above fulfill several criteria necessary to establish GABA as a transmitter in the nervous system of Helisoma. Taken together with previously obtained pharmacological evidence demonstrating that GABA acts on Helisoma central neurons, GABA is considered to be a strong candidate for a neurotransmitter in Helisoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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