GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is considered to be the major inhibitory neurotransmitter that is synthesized in and released from GABA-ergic neurons in the brain. However, recent studies have shown that not only neurons but astrocytes contain a considerable amount of GABA, which can be released and activate the receptors responsive to GABA. In addition, astrocytes are themselves responsive to GABA by expressing GABA receptors. These exciting new findings raise more questions about the origin of GABA, whether it is synthesized or taken up, and about the role of astrocytic GABA and GABA receptors. In this review, we propose several potential pathways for astrocytes to accumulate GABA and discuss the evidence for functional expression of GABA receptors in astrocytes.
- Glial GABA
- Tonic inhibition
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience