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Cell Calcium. 2011 Oct;50(4):381-92. doi: 10.1016/j.ceca.2011.07.002. Epub 2011 Aug 5.

GABAergic signaling in primary lens epithelial and lentoid cells and its involvement in intracellular Ca2+ modulation.

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Laboratory of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Department of Gene Technology and Developmental Neurobiology, Institute of Experimental Medicine, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary.


Primary lens epithelial cell (LEC) cultures derived from newborn (P0) and one-month-old (P30) mouse lenses were used to study GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) signaling expression and its effect on the intracellular Ca2+ ([Ca2+]i) level. We have found that these cultures express specific cellular markers for lens epithelial and fiber cells, all components of the functional GABA signaling pathway and GABA, thus recapitulating the developmental program of the ocular lens. Activation of both GABA-A and GABA-B receptors (GABAAR and GABABR) with the specific agonists muscimol and baclofen, respectively induces [Ca2+]i transients that could be blocked by the specific antagonists bicuculline and CGP55845 and were dependent on extracellular Ca2+. Bicuculline did not change the GABA-evoked Ca2+ responses in Ca2-containing buffers, but suppressed them significantly in Ca2+-free buffers suggesting the two receptors couple to convergent Ca2+ mobilization mechanisms with different extracellular Ca2+ sensitivity. Prolonged activation of GABABR induced wave propagation of the Ca2+ signal and persistent oscillations. The number of cells reacting to GABA or GABA+bicuculline in P30 mouse LEC cultures expressing predominantly the synaptic type GABAAR did not differ significantly from the number of reacting cells in P0 mouse LEC cultures. The GABA-induced Ca2+ transients in P30 (but not P0) mouse LEC could be entirely suppressed by co-application of bicuculline and CGP55845. The GABA-mediated Ca2+ signaling may be involved in a variety of Ca2+-dependent cellular processes during lens growth and epithelial cell differentiation.

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