Galanin alters GABAergic neurotransmission in the dorsal raphe nucleus

Neurochem Res. 2008 Feb;33(2):285-91. doi: 10.1007/s11064-007-9524-5. Epub 2007 Nov 1.


The neuropeptide galanin and its three receptor subtypes (Gal R1-3) are highly expressed in the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN), a region of the brain that contains a large population of serotonergic neurons. Galanin is co-expressed with serotonin in approximately 40% of the DRN neurons, and galanin and GALR2 expression are elevated by antidepressants like the SSRI fluoxetine, suggesting an interaction between serotonin and galanin. The present study examines the effect of galanin (Gal 1-29), a pan ligand for GalR (1-3) and the GalR2/GalR3-selective ligand, Gal 2-11, on the electrophysiological properties of DRN serotonergic neurons in a slice preparation. We recorded from cells in the DRN with electrophysiological characteristics consistent with those of serotonergic neurons that exhibit high input resistance, large after-hyperpolarizations and long spike duration as defined by Aghajanian and Vandermaelen. Both Gal 1-29 and Gal 2-11 decreased the amplitudes pharmacologically-isolated GABAergic inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs) in these putative serotonergic neurons. Furthermore, based on paired pulse facilitation studies, we show that Gal 1-29 likely decreases GABA release through a presynaptic mechanism, whereas Gal 2-11 may act postsynaptically. These findings may enhance understanding of the cellular mechanisms underlying the effects of antidepressant treatments on galanin and galanin receptors in DRN.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Galanin / pharmacology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Raphe Nuclei / drug effects*
  • Raphe Nuclei / metabolism
  • Raphe Nuclei / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism*


  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Galanin