Send to

Choose Destination
Dev Biol. 1996 Dec 15;180(2):631-45.

GABAergic neurons in the embryonic olfactory pit/vomeronasal organ: maintenance of functional GABAergic synapses in olfactory explants.

Author information

Laboratory of Neurochemistry, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, 20892, USA.


In previous work, we showed a robust gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABAergic) synaptic input onto embryonic luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) neurons maintained in olfactory explants. In this study, we identify GABAergic neurons in olfactory pit (OP) of embryonic mice in vivo and study, using patch-pipet whole-cell current and voltage clamp techniques, synaptic interactions of these neurons in explant cultures. In vivo, glutamate decarboxylase (GAD, the enzyme which synthesizes GABA) mRNA was first detected in nasal regions on Embryonic Day (E) 11.5. From E12.5 to E13.5, robust GAD expression was localized to cells primarily in the ventral aspect of the OP. GAD mRNA was not detected over dorsally located cells in olfactory sensory or respiratory epithelium. In addition, GAD mRNA was not observed in cells along olfactory axons. GAD mRNA was dramatically reduced in the OP/vomeronasal organ by E16.5. Using antibodies against both GABA and GAD, immunopositive axonal-like tracts were detected in the nasal septum on E12.5. GABAergic staining decreased by E13.5. To examine synaptic interactions of these GABAergic cells, embryonic olfactory explants were generated and maintained in serum-free media. As explants spread, neuron-like cells migrated into the periphery, sometimes forming ganglion-like clusters. Cells were recorded, marked intracellularly with Lucifer Yellow and post-fixation, immunocytochemically examined. Forty-six cells, typically multipolar, were GABAergic, had resting potentials around -50 mV, and exhibited spontaneous action potentials which were generated by spontaneous depolarizing GABAergic (GABAA) synaptic activity. OP neurons depolarized in response to GABA by increasing Cl- conductance. The biophysical properties of OP-derived GABAergic neurons were distinct from those reported for olfactory receptor neurons but similar to embryonic LHRH neurons. However, unlike LHRH neurons, GABAergic neurons did not migrate large distances in olfactory explants or appear to leave the olfactory pit in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center