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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Jul 1;111(26):9627-32. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1319820111. Epub 2014 Jun 16.

Seasonal induction of GABAergic excitation in the central mammalian clock.

Author information

1
Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Laboratory of Neurophysiology, Leiden University Medical Center, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands.
2
Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Laboratory of Neurophysiology, Leiden University Medical Center, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands S.michel@lumc.nl.

Abstract

The balance between excitation and inhibition is essential for the proper function of neuronal networks in the brain. The inhibitory neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) contributes to the network dynamics within the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which is involved in seasonal encoding. We investigated GABAergic activity and observed mainly inhibitory action in SCN neurons of mice exposed to a short-day photoperiod. Remarkably, the GABAergic activity in a long-day photoperiod shifts from inhibition toward excitation. The mechanistic basis for this appears to be a change in the equilibrium potential of GABA-evoked current. These results emphasize that environmental conditions can have substantial effects on the function of a key neurotransmitter in the central nervous system.

KEYWORDS:

NKCC1; calcium; chloride; circadian; excitation/inhibition balance

PMID:
24979761
PMCID:
PMC4084452
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1319820111
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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