Selective changes in single cell GABA(A) receptor subunit expression and function in temporal lobe epilepsy

Nat Med. 1998 Oct;4(10):1166-72. doi: 10.1038/2661.


Temporal lobe epilepsy is the most prevalent seizure disorder in adults. Compromised inhibitory neurotransmitter function in the hippocampus contributes to the hyperexcitability generating this condition, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are unknown. Combining patch-clamp recording and single-cell mRNA amplification (aRNA) techniques in single dentate granule cells, we demonstrate that expression of GABA(A) receptor subunit mRNAs is substantially altered in neurons from epileptic rats. These changes in gene expression precede epilepsy onset by weeks and correlate with profound alterations in receptor function, indicating that aberrant GABA(A) receptor expression and function has an essential role in the process of epileptogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Separation
  • Dentate Gyrus / cytology
  • Dentate Gyrus / metabolism*
  • Electric Conductivity
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / chemically induced
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Pilocarpine / pharmacology
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Rats
  • Receptors, GABA-A / biosynthesis*
  • Receptors, GABA-A / genetics
  • Seizures / chemically induced


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, GABA-A
  • Pilocarpine