GABA agonist "muscimol" is neuroprotective in repetitive transient forebrain ischemia in gerbils

Exp Neurol. 1993 Oct;123(2):284-8. doi: 10.1006/exnr.1993.1160.


The damaging effects from transient forebrain ischemia may be a result of excessive excitability or loss of inhibitory influences. In the brain, GABA acts as the major inhibitory neurotransmitter and its loss may be an important factor leading to delayed neuronal damage in the substantia nigra reticulata (SNr). In this study, we looked at the protective effects of muscimol, a GABA A agonist in a gerbil model of repetitive forebrain ischemia. For cerebral ischemia, we used three episodes of 2 min with a reperfusion period of 1 h between the insults. Histological evaluations were done 7 days after the insult using silver degeneration staining. Muscimol was infused into the third ventricle continuously for 7 days beginning just prior to the insult. There were a total of 20 animals, 12 treated with muscimol and the other 8 serving as controls. At 7 days, there was significant protection in the cortex (P = 0.007), hippocampus [CA1 (P = 0.01), CA4 (P = 0.015)], substantia nigra reticulata (P = 0.007), striatum (P = 0.049), and thalamus (P = 0.012). All statistical comparisons were done using nonparametric tests (Mann-Whitney U test). Our study shows that potentiation of inhibitory mechanisms may be important mechanisms of neuronal protection from the effects of repetitive ischemia and the effects are not limited to the SNr. Further studies are needed to better understand their mechanism of action.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Ischemia / metabolism
  • Brain Ischemia / pathology*
  • Brain Ischemia / prevention & control*
  • Cerebral Cortex / pathology
  • Corpus Striatum / pathology
  • Gerbillinae
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Male
  • Muscimol / therapeutic use*
  • Substantia Nigra / pathology
  • Thalamus / pathology
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism*


  • Muscimol
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid