Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology

, Volume 348, Issue 5, pp 491–497

γ-Hydroxybutyric acid (GHBA) induces pacemaker activity and inhibition of substantia nigra dopamine neurons by activating GABAB-receptors

  • Göran Engberg
  • Hans Nissbrandt
Original Articles

DOI: 10.1007/BF00173208

Cite this article as:
Engberg, G. & Nissbrandt, H. Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Arch Pharmacol (1993) 348: 491. doi:10.1007/BF00173208


In the present study the actions of γ-hydroxybutyric acid (GHBA) on dopaminergic neurons in the rat substantia nigra (SN) were pharmacologically analysed utilising extracellular single unit recording techniques. Intravenous administration of GHBA was associated with several effects on the neuronal activity of nigral dopamine (DA) neurons. Low doses (<200 mg/kg) of GHBA produced a slight excitation of the neurons, concomitant with a regularised firing rhythm and lack of burst activity. In higher doses GHBA produced an even higher degree of regularisation but, in contrast to low doses, an inhibition of firing rate. Administration of the GABAB-receptor agonist baclofen, in all essential respects, mimicked the effect of GHBA on the firing of nigral DA neurons. Both the regularisation of the firing pattern and inhibition of firing rate produced by systemic administration of GHBA were antagonised by the GABAB-receptor antagonist CGP 35348 (200 mg/kg, i.v.).

Our observations show that GHBA affects the firing pattern of nigral DA neurons in doses considerably lower than those required to inhibit the firing rate of the neurons. This action, as well as the decreased firing rate observed after high doses of GHBA, are mediated via activation of GABAB-receptors.

Key words

Substantia nigra γ-Hydroxybutyrate Baclofen CGP 35348 Dopamine Burst firing GABAB-receptors 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Göran Engberg
    • 1
  • Hans Nissbrandt
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PharmacologyUniversity of GöteborgGöteborgSweden

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