Depolarizing GABA and developmental epilepsies

CNS Neurosci Ther. 2015 Feb;21(2):83-91. doi: 10.1111/cns.12353. Epub 2014 Dec 1.


Early in development, GABA, which is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in adult brain, depolarizes immature neurons and exerts dual--excitatory and shunting/inhibitory--effects in the developing neuronal networks. The present review discusses some general questions, including the properties of excitation at depolarizing GABAergic synapse and shunting inhibition by depolarizing GABA; technical issues in exploration of depolarizing GABA using various techniques and preparations, including the developmental aspects of traumatic injury and what is known (or rather unknown) on the actions of GABA in vivo; complex roles of depolarizing GABA in developmental epilepsies, including a contribution of depolarizing GABA to enhanced excitability in the immature networks, caused by repetitive seizures accumulation of intracellular chloride concentration that increases excitatory GABA power and its synchronizing proconvulsive effects, and correction of chloride homeostasis as a potential strategy to treat neonatal seizures.

Keywords: Development; GABA; Neonate; Seizure.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Epilepsy / etiology*
  • Epilepsy / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism*


  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid