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Perspect Dev Neurobiol. 1998;5(2-3):235-46.

Effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) on synaptogenesis and synaptic function.

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Institute of Medical Biochemistry & Genetics, Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.


The correct establishment and function of synapses depend on a variety of factors, such as guidance of pre- and postsynaptic neurons as well as receptor development and localization. gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) has a pronounced effect on these events and elicits differentiation of neurons; that is, GABA acts as a trophic signal. Accordingly, activating preexisting GABA receptors, a trophic GABA signal enhances the growth rate of neuronal processes, facilitates synapse formation, and promotes synthesis of specific proteins. Transcription and de novo synthesis are initiated by the GABA signal, but the intracellular link between GABA receptor activation and DNA transcription is largely unknown. GABA also controls the induction and development of functionally and pharmacologically different GABAA receptor subtypes. The induced receptors are likely to be inserted only into the synaptic membrane domain. However, this ability to target the induced GABAA receptors is probably coupled to the maturation of neurons and not to the action of GABA per se. The induced GABAA receptors apparently mediate a pronounced inhibition of neurotransmitter release, whereas other subtypes of GABAA receptors may be modulatory rather than inhibitory.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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