Taurine activates GABA(A) but not GABA(B) receptors in rat hippocampal CA1 area

Brain Res. 2000 May 12;864(2):298-307. doi: 10.1016/s0006-8993(00)02211-3.


We investigated if taurine, an endogenous GABA analog, could mimic both hyperpolarizing and depolarizing GABA(A)-mediated responses as well as pre- and postsynaptic GABA(B)-mediated actions in the CA1 region of rat hippocampal slices. Taurine (10 mM) perfusion induced changes in membrane potential and input resistance that are compatible with GABA(A) receptor activation. Local pressure application of taurine and GABA from a double barrel pipette positioned along the dendritic shaft of pyramidal cells revealed that taurine evoked a very small change of membrane potential and resistance compared with the large changes induced by GABA in these parameters. Moreover, in the presence of GABA(A) antagonists, local application of GABA on the dendrites evoked a GABA(B)-mediated hyperpolarization while taurine did not induce any change. Taurine neither mimicked baclofen inhibitory actions on presynaptic release of glutamate and GABA as judging by the lack of taurine effect on paired-pulse facilitation ratio and slow inhibitory postsynaptic potentials, respectively. These results show that taurine mainly activates GABA(A) receptors located on the cell body, indicating therefore that if taurine has any action on the dendrites it will not be mediated by either GABA(A) or GABA(B) receptors activation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 2-Amino-5-phosphonovalerate / pharmacology
  • 6-Cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Baclofen / pharmacology
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / drug effects
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • Female
  • GABA Agonists / pharmacology
  • GABA Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Hippocampus / chemistry*
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Picrotoxin / pharmacology
  • Pyramidal Cells / chemistry
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, GABA-A / physiology*
  • Receptors, GABA-B / physiology*
  • Synapses / chemistry
  • Synapses / drug effects
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Taurine / pharmacology*
  • Tetrodotoxin / pharmacology
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / pharmacology


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • GABA Agonists
  • GABA Antagonists
  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • Receptors, GABA-B
  • Picrotoxin
  • Taurine
  • Tetrodotoxin
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • 6-Cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione
  • 2-Amino-5-phosphonovalerate
  • Baclofen