Regional Distribution of the GABAA/Benzodiazepine Receptor (α Subunit) mRNA in Rat Brain

Pascale Montpied, Brian M. Martin, Sandra L. Cottingham, Barbara K. Stubblefield, Edward I. Ginns, Steven M. Paul

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Abstract: A human cDNA clone containing the 5’coding region of the GABAA/benzodiazepine receptor α subunit was used to quantify and visualize receptor mRNA in various regions of the rat brain. Using a [32P]CTP‐labelled antisense RNA probe (860 bases) prepared from the α subunit cDNA, multiple mRNA species were detected in Northern blots using total and poly A rat brain RNA. In all brain regions, mRNAs of 4.4 and 4.8 kb were observed, and an additional mRNA of 3.0 kb was detected in the cerebellum and hippocampus. The level of GABAA/benzodiazepine receptor mRNA was highest in the cerebellum followed by the thalamus = frontal cortex = hippocampus = parietal cortex = hypothalamus ≫ pons = striatum = medulla. In situ hybridization revealed high levels of α subunit mRNA in cerebellar gray matter, olfactory bulb, thalamus, hippocampus/dentate gyrus, and the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus. These data suggest the presence of multiple GABAA/benzodiazepine receptor α subunit mRNAs in rat brain and demonstrate the feasibility of studying the expression of genes encoding the GABAA/benzodiazepine receptor after pharmacological and/or environmental manipulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1651-1654
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1988


  • GABA/Benzodiazepine receptor α sub‐unit
  • Northern blot analysis
  • cDNA probe
  • mRNA


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