Neurochemical Research

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 79–88 | Cite as

Alleviation by GABAB Receptors of Neurotoxicity Mediated by Mitochondrial Permeability Transition Pore in Cultured Murine Cortical Neurons Exposed to N-Methyl-d-aspartate

  • Toshihiko Kinjo
  • Yoshino Ashida
  • Hiroshi Higashi
  • Satoshi Sugimura
  • Miho Washida
  • Hiroki Niihara
  • Kiyokazu Ogita
  • Yukio Yoneda
  • Nobuyuki KuramotoEmail author
Original Paper


Mitochondrial permeability transition pore (PTP) is supposed to at least in part participate in molecular mechanisms underlying the neurotoxicity seen after overactivation of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor (NMDAR) in neurons. In this study, we have evaluated whether activation of GABAB receptor (GABABR), which is linked to membrane G protein-coupled inwardly-rectifying K+ ion channels (GIRKs), leads to protection of the NMDA-induced neurotoxicity in a manner relevant to mitochondrial membrane depolarization in cultured embryonic mouse cortical neurons. The cationic fluorescent dye 3,3′-dipropylthiacarbocyanine was used for determination of mitochondrial membrane potential. The PTP opener salicylic acid induced a fluorescence increase with a vitality decrease in a manner sensitive to the PTP inhibitor ciclosporin, while ciclosporin alone was effective in significantly preventing both fluorescence increase and viability decrease by NMDA as seen with an NMDAR antagonist. The NMDA-induced fluorescence increase and viability decrease were similarly prevented by pretreatment with the GABABR agonist baclofen, but not by the GABAAR agonist muscimol, in a fashion sensitive to a GABABR antagonist. Moreover, the GIRK inhibitor tertiapin canceled the inhibition by baclofen of the NMDA-induced fluorescence increase. These results suggest that GABABR rather than GABAAR is protective against the NMDA-induced neurotoxicity mediated by mitochondrial PTP through a mechanism relevant to opening of membrane GIRKs in neurons.


GABABGIRKs NMDAR Mitochondrial depolarization Cell death Tertiapin 



Adenylyl cyclase


Area under curve


3,3′-Dipropylthiacarbocyanine iodide


Days in vitro


γ-Aminobutyric acid


γ-Aminobutyric acid A receptor


γ-Aminobutyric acid B receptor


G protein-coupled inwardly-rectifying K+ ion channel


G protein-coupled receptor


3-[4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyl-tetrazolium bromide




N-Methyl-d-aspartate receptor




Protein kinase A


Permeability transition pore


Reactive oxygen species


9-(Tetrahydro-2-furanyl)-9H-purin-6-amine, 9-THF-Ade


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical SciencesSetsunan UniversityHirakataJapan
  2. 2.Laboratory of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical SciencesSetsunan UniversityHirakataJapan
  3. 3.Section of Prophylactic Pharmacology, Venture Business LaboratoryKanazawa UniversityKanazawaJapan

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