In the hippocampus, a brain structure critically important in the stress response, GABA controls neuronal activity not only via synaptic inhibition, but also via tonic inhibition through stimulation of extrasynaptic GABA receptors. The extracellular level of GABA may represent a major determinant for tonic inhibition and, therefore, it is surprising that its responsiveness to stress has hardly been investigated. To clarify whether hippocampal extracellular GABA levels change in response to acute stress, we conducted an in vivo microdialysis study in rats. We found that dialysate GABA levels respond to various neuropharmacological manipulations such as reuptake inhibition, elevated concentrations of K+, tetrodotoxin and baclofen, indicating that a large proportion of hippocampal extracellular GABA depends on neuronal release and that GABA re-uptake plays a role in determining the extracellular levels of this neurotransmitter. Next, rats were exposed to a novel cage or to forced swimming in 25 °C water. Interestingly, these two stressors resulted in opposite effects. Novelty caused a fast increase in GABA (120% of baseline), whereas forced swimming resulted in a profound decrease (70% of baseline). To discriminate between the psychological and physical aspects (i.e. the effects on body temperature) of forced swimming, another group of animals was forced to swim at 35 °C. This stressor, like novelty, caused an increase in hippocampal GABA, suggesting a stimulatory effect of psychological stress. The effects of novelty could not be blocked by the corticotropin-releasing factor receptor antagonist D-Phe-CRF12-41. These results are the first to demonstrate stressor-dependent changes in hippocampal extracellular GABA; an observation which may be of particular significance for GABAergic tonic inhibition of hippocampal neurons.
|Translated title of the contribution||Exposure to novelty and forced swimming evoke stressor-dependent changes in extracellular GABA in the rat hippocampus|
|Pages (from-to)||794 - 805|
|Number of pages||12|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2007|