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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Cholinergic cell expression in the developing rat medial septal nucleus in vitro is differentially controlled by GABAA and GABAB receptors.

The early appearance and relative abundance of GABAergic neurons in basal forebrain cholinergic nuclei like the medial septum suggest that the maturation of the later developing cholinergic neurons in these nuclei may be controlled by GABA. To examine this possibility, the effects of both exogenous GABA and specific GABA receptor agonists, as well as that of endogenous GABA on the phenotypic expression and survival of the cholinergic neurons in primary cultures from the fetal rat medial septum, were studied. Treatment of these cultures for six days with GABA significantly decreased the enzymatic activity of choline acetyltransferase (EC (ChAT) in a dose-dependent manner. This response to exogenous GABA was blocked by bicuculline, mimicked by muscimol and slightly potentiated by saclofen. Consistent with this latter observation, the GABAB receptor agonist, baclofen, dose-dependently increased septal ChAT activity. However, while the effect of baclofen on cholinergic expression was lost in the absence of glia, the suppressive effects of GABA or muscimol were more marked. Acetylcholinesterase (EC (AChE) expression in mixed neuronal-glial cultures, was, like ChAT activity, increased or decreased in intensity with the inclusion of baclofen or muscimol, respectively. Although the number of AChE positive neurons in muscimol-treated cultures was significantly lower than that in controls, no changes in neither neuronal nor general cell viability were noted. Finally, as GABAA or GABAB receptor antagonists bicuculline and picrotoxin or saclofen, when applied alone to mixed cultures, increased or decreased ChAT activity, respectively, it appears that endogenous GABA, tonically released in the developing septum, may, via specific receptor types, differentially control the biochemical maturation of the cholinergic neurons.[1]


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