γ-aminobutyric acid A neurotransmission and cerebral ischemia
In this review, we present evidence for the role of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmission in cerebral ischemia-induced neuronal death. While glutamate neuro transmission has received widespread attention in this area of study, relatively few investigators have focused on the ischemia-induced alterations in inhibitory neurotransmission. We present a review of the effects of cerebral ischemia on pre and postsynaptic targets within the GABAergic synapse. Both in vitro and in vivo models of ischemia have been used to measure changes in GABA synthesis, release, reuptake, GABAA receptor expression and activity. Cellular events generated by ischemia that have been shown to alter GABA neurotransmission include changes in the CI- gradient, reduction in ATP, increase in intracellular Ca2+, generation of reactive oxygen species, and accumulation of arachidonic acid and eicosanoids. Neuroprotective strategies to increase GABA neurotransmission target both sides of the synapse as well, by preventing GABA reuptake and metabolism and increasing GABAA receptor activity with agonists and allosteric modulators. Some of these strategies are quite efficacious in animal models of cerebral ischemia, with sedation as the only unwanted side-effect. Based on promising animal data, clinical trials with GABAergic drugs are in progress for specific types of stroke. This review attempts to provide an understanding of the mechanisms by which GABA neuro-transmission is sensitive to cerebral ischemia. Furthermore, we discuss how dysfunction of GABA neurotransmission may contribute to neuronal death and how neuronal death can be prevented by GABAergic drugs.
Schwartz-Bloom, RD; Sah, R
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