Is plasticity of GABAergic mechanisms relevant to epileptogenesis?

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2014:813:133-50. doi: 10.1007/978-94-017-8914-1_11.


Numerous changes in GABAergic neurons, receptors, and inhibitory mechanisms have been described in temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), either in humans or in animal models. Nevertheless, there remains a common assumption that epilepsy can be explained by simply an insufficiency of GABAergic inhibition. Alternatively, investigators have suggested that there is hyperinhibition that masks an underlying hyperexcitability. Here we examine the status epilepticus (SE) models of TLE and focus on the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus, where a great deal of data have been collected. The types of GABAergic neurons and GABAA receptors are summarized under normal conditions and after SE. The role of GABA in development and in adult neurogenesis is discussed. We suggest that instead of "too little or too much" GABA there is a complexity of changes after SE that makes the emergence of chronic seizures (epileptogenesis) difficult to understand mechanistically, and difficult to treat. We also suggest that this complexity arises, at least in part, because of the remarkable plasticity of GABAergic neurons and GABAA receptors in response to insult or injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Neuronal Plasticity*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / physiology*


  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid