Article date: 1992/8/1
PubMed ID: 1331860
Journal name: Neuroscience (ISSN: 0306-4522)
Previous studies from our laboratory and others have shown that there are major age-related differences in brainstem neuronal function. Since GABAA receptors are major targets for GABA-mediated inhibitory modulation and play a key role in regulating cardiorespiratory function, especially during O2 deprivation, we examined differences in GABAA receptor density and distribution during postnatal development. Using quantitative receptor autoradiography, the present study was performed to examine the postnatal expression of GABAA receptors in the rat brainstem and rostral brain areas at five ages, i.e. postnatal day 1 (P1), P5, P10, P21 and P120. Ten-micrometer brain sections at different brain levels were labelled with [3H]muscimol in Tris-citrate buffer. We found that (i) GABAA receptors appeared very early in almost all the brainstem as well as rostral areas; (ii) at P1, the brainstem had a higher GABAA receptor binding density than rostral areas and its density peaked at P5 or P10; and (iii) receptor densities of the cerebellum and rostral brain areas such as cortex, thalamus and dentate gyrus increased with age, especially between P10 and P21, but most other subcortical areas like caudate-putamen and hippocampal CA1 area did not increase remarkably after birth. We conclude that: (i) GABAA receptors exist in most brain areas at birth; (ii) there are several patterns of postnatal development of GABAA receptors in the CNS with dramatic differences between the brainstem and cortex; (iii) brainstem functions rely more on GABAA receptors in early postnatal life than at more mature stages. We speculate that GABAA receptors develop earlier in phylogenetically older structures (such as brainstem) than in newer brain regions (such as cortex).
Author List: Xia Y, Haddad G G
Publication Types: Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
Substances mentioned in the article: Receptors, GABA-A; Tritium; Muscimol;
Mesh terms: Aging/physiology; Animals; Animals, Newborn; Autoradiography; Brain/growth & development; Brain Stem/growth & development; Muscimol/metabolism; Organ Specificity; Rats; Rats, Wistar; Receptors, GABA-A/analysis; Tritium;