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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1986 Dec;83(23):9269-73.

Modulation of gamma-aminobutyric acid-mediated inhibitory synaptic currents in dissociated cortical cell cultures.


Inhibitory gamma-aminobutyric acid-mediated synaptic currents were studied in dissociated primary cultures of neonatal rat cortex with the whole-cell patch-clamp technique. Immunocytochemical staining of the cultures showed the presence of a large number of glutamic acid decarboxylase-containing neurons, and electrical stimulation of randomly selected neurons produced in many cases chloride-mediated and bicuculline-sensitive inhibitory synaptic currents in postsynaptic cells. The amplitude and decay time of the inhibitory synaptic currents were increased by flunitrazepam and decreased by the beta-carboline derivative methyl 6,7-dimethoxy-4-ethyl-beta-carboline-3-carboxylate, two high-affinity ligands for the allosteric regulatory sites of gamma-aminobutyric acid receptors. The imidazobenzodiazepine Ro 15-1788, another high-affinity ligand of the gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor regulatory sites that has negligible intrinsic activity, blocked the action of flunitrazepam and beta-carboline. However, Ro 15-1788 also increased the decay rate of the inhibitory synaptic currents. This might suggest that an endogenous ligand for the benzodiazepine-beta-carboline binding site is operative in gamma-aminobutyric acid-mediated synaptic transmission.

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