GABA(B) receptors: synaptic functions and mechanisms of diversity

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2007 Jun;17(3):298-303. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2007.04.001. Epub 2007 Apr 12.


GABA(B) receptors are the G-protein-coupled receptors for GABA, the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system. They are implicated in a variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders. With the cloning of GABA(B) receptors ten years ago, substantial progress was made in our understanding of this receptor system. Here, we review current concepts of synaptic GABA(B) functions and present the evidence that points to specific roles for receptor subtypes. We discuss ultrastructural studies revealing that most GABA(B) receptors are located remote from GABAergic terminals, which raises questions as to when such receptors become activated. Finally, we provide possible explanations for the perplexing situation that GABA(B) receptor subtypes that have indistinguishable properties in vitro generate distinct GABA(B) responses in vivo.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Models, Biological
  • Receptors, GABA-B / chemistry
  • Receptors, GABA-B / physiology*
  • Receptors, GABA-B / ultrastructure
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synapses / ultrastructure


  • Receptors, GABA-B