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Neuron. 1997 Feb;18(2):243-55.

Ca2+ oscillations mediated by the synergistic excitatory actions of GABA(A) and NMDA receptors in the neonatal hippocampus.

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INSERM Unité 29, Hôpital de Port-Royal, Paris, France.


We asked whether GABA(A) and NMDA receptors may act in synergy in neonatal hippocampal slices, at a time when GABA exerts a depolarizing action. The GABA(A) receptor agonist isoguvacine reduced the voltage-dependent Mg2+ block of single NMDA channels recorded in cell-attached configuration from P(2-5) CA3 pyramidal neurons and potentiated the Ca2+ influx through NMDA channels. The synaptic response evoked by electrical stimulation of stratum radiatum was mediated by a synergistic interaction between GABA(A) and NMDA receptors. Network-driven Giant Depolarizing Potentials, which are a typical feature of the neonatal hippocampal network, provided coactivation of GABA(A) and NMDA receptors and were associated with spontaneous and synchronous Ca2+ increases in CA3 pyramidal neurons. Thus, at the early stages of development, GABA is a major excitatory transmitter that acts in synergy with NMDA receptors. This provides in neonatal neurons a hebbian stimulation that may be involved in neuronal plasticity and network formation in the developing hippocampus.

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