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A novel role of intestine epithelial GABAergic signaling in regulating intestinal fluid secretion.

American journal of physiology. Gastrointestinal and liver physiology (2012-06-16)
Yan Li, Yun-Yan Xiang, Wei-Yang Lu, Chuanyong Liu, Jingxin Li

γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system, and it is produced via the enzymatic activity of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD). GABA generates fast biological signaling through type A receptors (GABA(A)R), an anionic channel. Intriguingly, GABA is found in the jejunum epithelium of rats. The present study intended to determine whether a functional GABA signaling system exists in the intestinal epithelium and if so whether the GABA signaling regulates intestinal epithelial functions. RT-PCR, Western blot, and immunohistochemical assays of small intestinal tissues of various species were performed to determine the expression of GABA-signaling proteins in intestinal epithelial cells. Perforated patch-clamp recording was used to measure GABA-induced transmembrane current in the small intestine epithelial cell line IEC-18. The fluid weight-to-intestine length ratio was measured in mice that were treated with GABA(A)R agonist and antagonist. The effect of GABA(A)R antagonist on allergic diarrhea was examined using a mouse model. GABA, GAD, and GABA(A)R subunits were identified in small intestine epithelial cells of mice, rats, pigs, and humans. GABA(A)R agonist induced an inward current and depolarized IEC-18. Both GABA and the GABA(A)R agonist muscimol increased intestinal fluid secretion of rats. The increased intestinal secretion was largely decreased by the GABA(A)R antagonist picrotoxin or gabazine, but not by tetrodotoxin. The expression levels of GABA-signaling proteins were increased in the intestinal epithelium of mice that were sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin (OVA). The OVA-treated mice exhibited diarrhea, which was alleviated by oral administration of gabazine or picrotoxin. An endogenous autocrine GABAergic signaling exists in the mammalian intestinal epithelium, which upregulates intestinal fluid secretion. The intestinal GABAergic signaling becomes intensified in allergic diarrhea, and inhibition of this GABA-signal system alleviates the allergic diarrhea.

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γ-Aminobutyric acid, ≥99%, >=99%, crystals, 195 °C (dec.) (lit.)