Neuronal localization of the GABA transporter GAT-3 in human cerebral cortex: A procedural artifact?

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Gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) plasma membrane transporters (GATs) contribute to the modulation of GABA's actions and are implicated in neuropsychiatric diseases. In this study, the localization of GAT-3, the major glial GAT, was investigated in human cortex using immunocytochemical techniques. In prefrontal and temporal cortices, GAT-3 immunoreactivity (ir) was present throughout the depth of the cortex, both in puncta and in neurons. GAT-3-positive puncta were dispersed in the neuropil or closely related to cell bodies; neuronal staining was in perikarya, especially of pyramidal cells, and proximal dendrites. Electron microscopic studies showed that GAT-3 ir was in astrocytic processes as well as in neuronal elements. All GAT-3-positive neurons co-expressed heat shock protein 70. To test the possibility that the collection procedure of human samples induced the expression of GAT-3 in neurons which normally do not express it, we analyzed rat cortical tissue resected using the same procedure and found that numerous neurons are GAT-3-positive and that they co-express heat shock protein 70. Results show that in human cortex GAT-3 is expressed in astrocytic processes and in neurons and suggest that neuronal expression is related to the procedure used for collecting human samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-54
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Chemical Neuroanatomy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2005


  • Astrocytes
  • GABA uptake
  • Ischemia
  • Neurons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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