Receptors with low affinity for neurosteroids and GABA contribute to tonic inhibition of granule cells in epileptic animals

Neurobiol Dis. 2010 Nov;40(2):490-501. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2010.07.016. Epub 2010 Aug 1.


Neurosteroid sensitivity of GABA(A) receptor mediated inhibition of the hippocampal dentate granule cells (DGCs) is reduced in animal models of temporal lobe epilepsy. However, the properties and subunit composition of GABA(A) receptors mediating tonic inhibition in DGCs of epileptic animals have not been described. In the DGCs of epileptic animals, allopregnanolone and L-655708 sensitivity of holding current was diminished and δ subunit was retained in the endoplasmic reticulum and its surface expression was decreased the in the hippocampus. Ro15-4513 and lanthanum had distinct effects on holding current recorded from DGCs of control and epileptic animals suggesting that the pharmacological properties of GABA(A) receptors maintaining tonic inhibition in DGCs of epileptic animals were similar to those containing the α4βxγ2 subunits. Furthermore, surface expression of the α4 subunit increased and a larger fraction of the subunit co-immunoprecipitated with theγ2 subunit in hippocampi of epileptic animals. Together, these studies revealed that functional α4βxδ and α5βxγ2 receptors were reduced in the hippocampi of epileptic animals and that novel α4bxγ2 receptors contributed to the maintenance of tonic inhibition. The presence of α4βxγ2 receptors resulted in low GABA affinity and neurosteroid sensitivity of tonic currents in the DGCs of epileptic animals that could potentially increase seizure vulnerability. These receptors may represent a novel therapeutic target for anticonvulsant drugs without sedative actions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Affinity Labels
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Dentate Gyrus / drug effects*
  • Dentate Gyrus / metabolism
  • Dentate Gyrus / physiopathology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Electric Stimulation / adverse effects
  • Electric Stimulation / methods
  • Electrophysiology
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / metabolism*
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology
  • Immunoprecipitation
  • Male
  • Neural Inhibition / drug effects
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism*
  • Pregnanolone
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, GABA-A / drug effects
  • Receptors, GABA-A / metabolism*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism*


  • Affinity Labels
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Pregnanolone