Activation of GABAA receptors: views from outside the synaptic cleft

Neuron. 2007 Dec 6;56(5):763-70. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2007.11.002.


Some GABA(A) receptors (GABA(A)Rs) are activated by low transmitter levels present in the extracellular space and generate an uninterrupted conductance referred to as "tonic." This tonic conductance is highly sensitive to all factors regulating the amount of GABA surrounding the neurons. Only a few GABA(A)Rs with particular subunit combinations are well suited to mediate the tonic conductance. These same receptors constitute important and specific targets for various endogenous and exogenous neuroactive compounds and possible therapeutic targets.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Extracellular Space / physiology
  • GABA Agonists / therapeutic use
  • GABA Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • GABA-A Receptor Agonists
  • GABA-A Receptor Antagonists
  • Humans
  • Neural Conduction / drug effects
  • Neural Conduction / physiology
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / physiology
  • Receptors, GABA-A / physiology*
  • Synapses / drug effects
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / physiology


  • GABA Agonists
  • GABA Antagonists
  • GABA-A Receptor Agonists
  • GABA-A Receptor Antagonists
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid