Encyclopedia of Molecular Pharmacology

2008 Edition
| Editors: Stefan Offermanns, Walter Rosenthal

GABAergic System

  • Uwe Rudolph
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-38918-7_61

Definition

GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid) is an amino acid with mostly inhibitory functions in the mammalian central nervous system. Structures involved in releasing or binding GABA as a neurotransmitter constitute the GABAergic system. The GABAergic system is involved in the regulation of vigilance, anxiety, muscle tension, epileptogenic activity and memory functions.

Basic Characteristics

GABA is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the mammalian central nervous system. It is synthesized in presynaptic terminals from glutamate by the action of the enzyme glutamic acid decarboxylase, stored in vesicles and released upon the arrival of an action potential. GABA binds to and mediates its effects via postsynaptic ionotropic GABA A receptors and pre-and postsynaptic metabotropic GABA B receptors (Fig. 1). Whereas the GABA A receptors mediate fast responses, the GABA Breceptors mediate slow responses. GABA is removed from the synaptic cleft by GABA transporters and metabolized in a...
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References

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    Fritschy J-M, Mohler H (1995) GABAA-receptor heterogeneity in the adult rat brain: differential regional and cellular distribution of seven major subunits. J Comp Neurol 14:154–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Rudolph U, Crestani F, Möhler H (2001) GABAA recpetor subtypes: dissecting their pharmacological functions. Trends Pharmacol Sci 22:188–194PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Uwe Rudolph
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Pharmacology and ToxicologyUniversity of ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Laboratory of Genetic Neuropharmacology, McLean Hospital, Department of PsychiatryHarvard Medical SchoolBelmontUSA