Publications (3)5.77 Total impact
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ABSTRACT: GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is considered to be the major inhibitory neurotransmitter that is synthesized in and released from GABA-ergic neurons in the brain. However, recent studies have shown that not only neurons but astrocytes contain a considerable amount of GABA, which can be released and activate the receptors responsive to GABA. In addition, astrocytes are themselves responsive to GABA by expressing GABA receptors. These exciting new findings raise more questions about the origin of GABA, whether it is synthesized or taken up, and about the role of astrocytic GABA and GABA receptors. In this review, we propose several potential pathways for astrocytes to accumulate GABA and discuss the evidence for functional expression of GABA receptors in astrocytes.Neurochemical Research 06/2012; · 2.24 Impact Factor
Article: Imiquimod enhances excitability of dorsal root ganglion neurons by inhibiting background (K(2P)) and voltage-gated (K(v)1.1 and K(v)1.2) potassium channels.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Imiquimod (IQ) is known as an agonist of Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) and is widely used to treat various infectious skin diseases. However, it causes severe itching sensation as its side effect. The precise mechanism of how IQ causes itching sensation is unknown. A recent report suggested a molecular target of IQ as TLR7 expressed in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. However, we recently proposed a TLR7-independent mechanism, in which the activation of TLR7 is not required for the action of IQ in DRG neurons. To resolve this controversy regarding the involvement of TLR7 and to address the exact molecular identity of itching sensation by IQ, we investigated the possible molecular target of IQ in DRG neurons. When IQ was applied to DRG neurons, we observed an increase in action potential (AP) duration and membrane resistance both in wild type and TLR7-deficient mice. Based on these results, we tested whether the treatment of IQ has an effect on the activity of K(+) channels, K(v)1.1 and K(v)1.2 (voltage-gated K(+) channels) and TREK1 and TRAAK (K(2P) channels). IQ effectively reduced the currents mediated by both K(+) channels in a dose-dependent manner, acting as an antagonist at TREK1 and TRAAK and as a partial antagonist at K(v)1.1 and K(v)1.2. Our results demonstrate that IQ blocks the voltage-gated K(+) channels to increase AP duration and K(2P) channels to increase membrane resistance, which are critical for the membrane excitability of DRG neurons. Therefore, we propose that IQ enhances the excitability of DRG neurons by blocking multiple potassium channels and causing pruritus.Molecular Pain 01/2012; 8:2. · 3.53 Impact Factor
Article: The amount of astrocytic GABA positively correlates with the degree of tonic inhibition in hippocampal CA1 and cerebellum.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: A tonic form of synaptic inhibition occurs in discrete regions of the central nervous system and has an important role in controlling neuronal excitability. Recently, we reported that GABA present in astrocyte is the major source of tonic inhibition in cerebellum and that GABA is released through Bestrophin-1 channel by direct permeation. In this study, we screened for the presence of astrocytic GABA in various brain regions such as hippocampus, thalamus, hypothalamus and cerebellum using immunohistochemistry. We found that astrocytic GABA was present in the regions that were reported to show tonic inhibition. Because the existence of tonic inhibition in hippocampal CA1 is somewhat controversial, we compared the amount of astrocytic GABA and tonic inhibition between the hippocampal CA1 pyramidal cell layer and the cerebellar granule cell layer. Unlike cerebellar glial cells, hippocampal astrocytes did not contain GABA. The tonic inhibition was also much lower in the pyramidal neurons of hippocampal CA1 compared to the granule cells of cerebellum. Nevertheless, most of the hippocampal astrocytes expressed Bestrophin-1 channel. These data indicate that the absence of astrocytic GABA results in a low level of tonic inhibition in hippocampal CA1 region.Molecular Brain 11/2011; 4:42.