Diversity of inhibitory neurotransmission through GABA(A) receptors

Trends Neurosci. 2004 Sep;27(9):569-75. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2004.07.002.


In the brain, highly connected and heterogeneous GABAergic cells are crucial in controling the activity of neuronal networks. They accomplish this task by communicating through remarkably diverse sets of inhibitory processes, the complexity of which is reflected by the variety of interneuron classification schemes proposed in recent years. It is now becoming clear that the subcellular localization and intrinsic properties of heteropentameric GABA(A) receptors themselves also constitute major sources of diversity in GABA-mediated signaling. This review summarizes some of the factors underlying this diversity, including GABA(A) receptor subunit composition, localization, activation, number and phosphorylation states, variance of GABA concentration in the synaptic cleft, and some of the presynaptic factors regulating GABA release.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chloride Channels / physiology
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neural Inhibition / drug effects
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / pharmacology
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / physiology
  • Phosphorylation
  • Receptors, GABA-A / classification
  • Receptors, GABA-A / physiology*
  • Synapses / drug effects
  • Synapses / metabolism*
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*


  • Chloride Channels
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Receptors, GABA-A