A New Role of GABA on Synapses Tatsuya Hayama 1 , Haruo Kasai 1 1Structural Physiology, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo Keyword: GABA , 抑制 , シナプス可塑性 , シナプス統合 , 樹状突起スパイン , GABA , inhibition , synaptic plasticity , synaptic integration , dendritic spine pp.987-993
Published Date 2014/8/1
DOI https://doi.org/10.11477/mf.1416101868
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Neurons connect and transmit information via synapses. The major excitatory and inhibitory (E-I) neurotransmitters are glutamate and γ-amino butyric acid (GABA), respectively. The E-I balance plays an important role in various brain functions. In this review, we summarize the role of GABA on synaptic integration and synaptic plasticity by introducing our own recent findings. In synaptic integration, GABA is considered to inhibit depolarization induced by glutamate and suppress action potentials. We found that GABA also has a more direct role on the synaptic plasticity of excitatory inputs. GABA effectively promotes the shrinkage and elimination of synapses by suppressing local dendritic Ca2+ signaling, while keeping the Ca2+ domain of the NMDA receptors intact. In this manner, GABA promoted the activation of calcineurin, which in turn activated cofilin. Interestingly, shrinkage tended to spread, likely due to the spread of cofilin, and induced competitive selection of synapses via its phosphorylation and dephosphorylation. The selection of synapses is key to the reorganization of the central nervous system during development and in adulthood, and GABA plays key roles in various mental disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia. Our results account well for the in vivo GABA functions on synaptic selection, and may help to develop new therapeutic compounds.

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