Differential maturation of GABA action and anion reversal potential in spinal lamina I neurons: impact of chloride extrusion capacity.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


J Neurosci, Volume 25, Issue 42, p.9613-23 (2005)


<p>A deficit in inhibition in the spinal dorsal horn has been proposed to be an underlying cause of the exaggerated cutaneous sensory reflexes observed in newborn rats. However, the developmental shift in transmembrane anion gradient, potentially affecting the outcome of GABAA transmission, was shown to be completed within 1 week after birth in the spinal cord, an apparent disparity with the observation that reflex hypersensitivity persists throughout the first 2-3 postnatal weeks. To further investigate this issue, we used several approaches to assess the action of GABA throughout development in spinal lamina I (LI) neurons. GABA induced an entry of extracellular calcium in LI neurons from postnatal day 0 (P0) to P21 rats, which involved T- and N-type voltage-gated calcium channels. Gramicidin perforated-patch recordings revealed that the shift in anion gradient was completed by P7 in LI neurons. However, high chloride pipette recordings demonstrated that these neurons had not reached their adult chloride extrusion capacity by P10-P11. Simultaneous patch-clamp recordings and calcium imaging revealed that biphasic responses to GABA, consisting of a primary hyperpolarization followed by a rebound depolarization, produced a rise in [Ca2+]i. Thus, even if Eanion predicts GABAA-induced hyperpolarization from rest, a low chloride extrusion capacity can cause a rebound depolarization and an ensuing rise in [Ca2+]i. We demonstrate that GABA action in LI neurons matures throughout the first 3 postnatal weeks, therefore matching the time course of maturation of withdrawal reflexes. Immature spinal GABA signaling may thus contribute to the nociceptive hypersensitivity in infant rats.</p>

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