British journal of pharmacology

Effects of GABA(A) receptor partial agonists in primary cultures of cerebellar granule neurons and cerebral cortical neurons reflect different receptor subunit compositions.

PMID 11399671


Based on an unexpected high maximum response to piperidine-4-sulphonic acid (P4S) at human alpha1alpha6beta2gamma2 GABA(A) receptors expressed in Xenopus oocytes attempts to correlate this finding with the pharmacological profile of P4S and other GABA(A) receptor ligands in neuronal cultures from rat cerebellar granule cells and rat cerebral cortex were carried out. GABA and isoguvacine acted as full and piperidine-4-sulphonic acid (P4S) as partial agonists, respectively, at alpha1beta2gamma2, alpha6beta2gamma2 and alpha1alpha6beta2gamma2 GABA receptors expressed in Xenopus oocytes with differences in potency. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings were used to investigate the pharmacological profile of the partial GABA(A) receptor agonists 4,5,6,7-tetrahydroisoxazolo-(5,4-c)pyridin-3-ol (THIP), P4S, 5-(4-piperidyl)isoxazol-3-ol (4-PIOL), and 3-(4-piperidyl)isoxazol-5-ol (iso-4-PIOL), and the competitive GABA(A) receptor antagonists Bicuculline Methbromide (BMB) and 2-(3-carboxypropyl)-3-amino-6-methoxyphenyl-pyridazinium bromide (SR95531) on cerebral cortical and cerebellar granule neurons. In agreement with findings in oocytes, GABA, isoguvacine and P4S showed similar pharmacological profiles in cultured cortical and cerebellar neurones, which are known to express mainly alpha1, alpha2, alpha3, and alpha5 containing receptors and alpha1, alpha6 and alpha1alpha6 containing receptors, respectively. 4-PIOL and iso-4-PIOL, which at GABA(A) receptors expressed in oocytes were weak antagonists, showed cell type dependent potency as inhibitors of GABA mediated responses. Thus, 4-PIOL was slightly more potent at cortical neurones than at granule neurones and iso-4-PIOL was more potent in inhibiting isoguvacine-evoked currents at cortical than at granule neurons. Furthermore the maximum response to 4-PIOL corresponded to that of a partial agonist, whereas that of iso-4-PIOL gave a maximum response close to zero. It is concluded that the pharmacological profile of partial agonists is highly dependent on the receptor composition, and that small structural changes of a ligand can alter the selectivity towards different subunit compositions. Moreover, this study shows that pharmacological actions determined in oocytes are generally in agreement with data obtained from cultured neurons.

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