Neurogenesis mediated by gamma-aminobutyric acid and glutamate signaling

J Pharmacol Sci. 2009 Jun;110(2):133-49. doi: 10.1254/jphs.08r03cr. Epub 2009 May 30.


In this review, we will summarize our ongoing studies on the functionality of both gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glutamate receptors expressed by undifferentiated neural progenitor cells isolated from embryonic rodent brains. Cells were cultured with growth factors for the formation of round spheres by clustered cells under floating conditions, whereas a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis revealed expression of mRNA for particular subtypes of different ionotropic and metabotropic GABA and glutamate receptors in undifferentiated progenitors and neurospheres. Moreover, sustained exposure to either GABAergic or glutamatergic agonists not only modulated the size of neurospheres formed, but also affected spontaneous and induced differentiation of neural progenitor cells into particular progeny cell lineages such as neurons and astroglia. Both GABA and glutamate could play a pivotal role in the mechanisms underlying proliferation for self-replication along with the determination of subsequent differentiation fate toward particular progeny lineages through activation of their receptor subtypes functionally expressed by undifferentiated neural progenitor cells. Accordingly, neurogenesis seems to be also under control by GABAergic and glutamatergic signaling in developing brains as seen with neurotransmission in adult brains.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists / pharmacology
  • GABA Agonists / pharmacology
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Neurogenesis / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Receptors, GABA / drug effects
  • Receptors, GABA / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Glutamate / drug effects
  • Receptors, Glutamate / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Agonists
  • GABA Agonists
  • Receptors, GABA
  • Receptors, Glutamate
  • Glutamic Acid
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid