Plasticity of postsynaptic, but not presynaptic, GABA < inf> B receptors inSSADH deficient mice

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Succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase (SSADH) deficiency is an autosomal-recessively inherited disorder of γ-aminobutyrate (GABA) catabolism characterized by ataxia and epilepsy. Since SSADH is responsible for GABA break-down downstream of GABA transaminase, patients manifest high extracellular levels of GABA, as well as the GABAB receptor (GABABR) agonist γ-hydroxybutyrate (GHB). SSADH knockout (KO) mice display absence seizures, which progress into lethal tonic-clonic seizures at around 3weeks of age. It is hypothesized that desensitization of GABABRs plays an important role in the disease, although detailed studies of pre- and postsynaptic GABABRs are not available. We performed patch-clamp recordings from layer 2/3 pyramidal neurons in neocortical brain slices of wild-type (WT) and SSADH KO mice. Electrical stimulation of GABAergic fibers during wash in of the GABABR agonist baclofen revealed no difference in presynaptic GABABR mediated inhibition of GABA release between WT and SSADH KO mice. In contrast, a significant decrease in postsynaptic baclofen-induced potassium currents was seen in SSADH KO mice. This reduction was unlikely to be caused by accumulation of potassium, GABA or GHB in the brain slices, or an altered expression of regulators of G-protein signaling (RGS) proteins. Finally, adenosine-induced potassium currents were also reduced in SSADH KO mice, which could suggest heterologous desensitization of the G-protein dependent effectors, leading to a reduction in G-protein coupled inwardly rectifying potassium (GIRK) channel responses. Our findings indicate that high GABA and GHB levels desensitize postsynaptic, but not certain presynaptic, GABABRs, promoting a decrease in GIRK channel function. These changes could contribute to the development of seizures in SSADH KO mice and potentially also in affected patients. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.

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Experimental Neurology