3H-baclofen and 3H-GABA bind to bicuculline-insensitive GABA B sites in rat brain

Nature. 1981 Mar 12;290(5802):149-52. doi: 10.1038/290149a0.


The presence of a novel receptor for the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) on peripheral autonomic nerve terminals and in mammalian brain slices has been described recently. This receptor differs from the classical GABA site as it is unaffected by recognized GABA antagonists such as bicuculline and is not sensitive to the majority of accepted GABA-mimetics such as 3-aminopropanesulphonic acid (3-APS) or isoguvacine. We propose to designate the classical site as the GABA A and the novel site as the GABA B receptor. The beta-p-chlorophenyl derivative of GABA, baclofen, is stereospecifically active at the GABA B site whereas it is devoid of activity at the classical GABA A3 site. We now report that high-affinity saturable binding of 3H-baclofen and 3H-GABA to the GABA B site can be detected in fragments of crude synaptic membranes prepared from rat brain. The results support the concept of a novel GABA receptor within the mammalian brain and show that GABA and baclofen can compete for the same recognition site.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Baclofen / metabolism*
  • Bicuculline / pharmacology
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Calcium / pharmacology
  • GABA Antagonists
  • Magnesium / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / drug effects
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism*
  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • Synaptic Membranes / metabolism
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism*


  • GABA Antagonists
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Baclofen
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Bicuculline