Excitatory GABA input directly drives seizure-like rhythmic synchronization in mature hippocampal CA1 pyramidal cells

Neuroscience. 2003;119(1):265-75. doi: 10.1016/s0306-4522(03)00102-7.


GABA, which generally mediates inhibitory synaptic transmissions, occasionally acts as an excitatory transmitter through intense GABA(A) receptor activation even in adult animals. The excitatory effect results from alterations in the gradients of chloride, bicarbonate, and potassium ions, but its functional role still remains a mystery. Here we show that such GABAergic excitation participates in the expression of seizure-like rhythmic synchronization (afterdischarge) in the mature hippocampal CA1 region. Seizure-like afterdischarge was induced by high-frequency synaptic stimulation in the rat hippocampal CA1-isolated slice preparations. The hippocampal afterdischarge was completely blocked by selective antagonists of ionotropic glutamate receptors or of GABA(A) receptor, and also by gap-junction inhibitors. In the CA1 pyramidal cells, oscillatory depolarizing responses during the afterdischarge were largely dependent on chloride conductance, and their reversal potentials (average -38 mV) were very close to those of exogenously applied GABAergic responses. Moreover, intracellular loading of the GABA(A) receptor blocker fluoride abolished the oscillatory responses in the pyramidal cells. Finally, the GABAergic excitation-driven afterdischarge has not been inducible until the second postnatal week. Thus, excitatory GABAergic transmission seems to play an active functional role in the generation of adult hippocampal afterdischarge, in cooperation with glutamatergic transmissions and possible gap junctional communications. Our findings may elucidate the cellular mechanism of neuronal synchronization during seizure activity in temporal lobe epilepsy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 6-Cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione / pharmacology
  • Acetazolamide / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Anti-Ulcer Agents / pharmacology
  • Atropine / pharmacology
  • Bicuculline / pharmacology
  • Carbenoxolone / pharmacology
  • Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Chlorides / pharmacology
  • Drug Interactions
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Fluorides / pharmacology
  • GABA Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Hippocampus / cytology*
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Muscarinic Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques / methods
  • Phosphinic Acids / pharmacology
  • Propanolamines / pharmacology
  • Pyramidal Cells / drug effects*
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Seizures / physiopathology
  • Valine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Valine / pharmacology
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / pharmacology*


  • Anti-Ulcer Agents
  • Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors
  • Chlorides
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • GABA Antagonists
  • Muscarinic Antagonists
  • Phosphinic Acids
  • Propanolamines
  • CGP 55845A
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • 6-Cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione
  • 2-amino-5-phosphopentanoic acid
  • Atropine
  • Valine
  • Carbenoxolone
  • Acetazolamide
  • Fluorides
  • Bicuculline