Spontaneously Opening GABAA Channels in CA1 Pyramidal Neurones of Rat Hippocampus

Birnir, B.; Everitt, A.B.; Lim, M.S.F.; Gage, P.W.
March 2000
Journal of Membrane Biology;Mar2000, Vol. 174 Issue 1, p21
Academic Journal
Spontaneous, single channel, chloride currents were recorded in 48% of cell-attached patches on neurones in the CA1 region of rat hippocampal slices. In some patches, there was more than 1 channel active. They showed outward rectification: both channel conductance and open probability were greater at depolarized than at hyperpolarized potentials. Channels activated by γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in silent patches on the same neurones had similar conductance and outward rectification. The spontaneous currents were inhibited by bicuculline and potentiated by diazepam. It was concluded that the spontaneously opening channels were constitutively active, nonsynaptic GABAA channels. Such spontaneously opening GABAA channels may provide a tonic inhibitory mechanism in these cells and perhaps in other cells that have GABAA receptors although not having a GABAA synaptic input. They may also be a target for clinically useful drugs such as the benzodiazepines.


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