Synaptic-type α1β2γ2L GABAa receptors produce large persistent currents in the presence of ambient GABA and anesthetic drugs

Ping Li, Gustav Akk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Synaptic GABAA receptors respond to synaptically released GABA and are considered to be unaffected by the low levels of ambient transmitter in the brain. We show that synaptic-type α1β2γ2L GABAA receptors expressed in HEK293 cells respond with large steady-state currents to combinations of a low concentration (0.5 μM) of GABA and clinically used GABAergic modulators propofol, etomidate, or pentobarbital or the steroid alphaxalone. At a maximally effective concentration of modulator, the current levels at the end of 2-minute applications of drug combinations were >10% of the peak response to saturating GABA. In the absence of modulators, 0.5 μM GABA generated a steady-state response of 1% of the peak response to saturating GABA. The concentration-response curves for enhancement of steady-state currents by propofol, etomidate, pentobarbital, or alphaxalone were at similar or lower drug concentrations compared with concentration-response relationships for enhancement of peak responses. We propose that modulation of tonically activated synaptic-type GABAA receptors contributes to the clinical actions of sedative drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)776-781
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular pharmacology
Volume87
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2015

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