Reduced GABAB receptor subunit expression and paired-pulse depression in a genetic model of absence seizures

D. Merlo, C. Mollinari, Y. Inaba, A. Cardinale, A. M. Rinaldi, M. D'Antuono, G. D'Arcangelo, V. Tancredi, D. Ragsdale, M. Avoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neocortical networks play a major role in the genesis of generalized spike-and-wave (SW) discharges associated with absence seizures in humans and in animal models, including genetically predisposed WAG/Rij rats. Here, we tested the hypothesis that alterations in GABAB receptors contribute to neocortical hyperexcitability in these animals. By using Real-Time PCR we found that mRNA levels for most GABAB(1) subunits are diminished in epileptic WAG/Rij neocortex as compared with age-matched non-epileptic controls (NEC), whereas GABAB(2) mRNA is unchanged. Next, we investigated the cellular distribution of GABAB(1) and GABAB(2) subunits by confocal microscopy and discovered that GABAB(1) subunits fail to localize in the distal dendrites of WAG/Rij neocortical pyramidal cells. Intracellular recordings from neocortical cells in an in vitro slice preparation demonstrated reduced paired-pulse depression of pharmacologically isolated excitatory and inhibitory responses in epileptic WAG/Rij rats as compared with NECs; moreover, paired-pulse depression in NEC slices was diminished by a GABAB receptor antagonist to a greater extent than in WAG/Rij rats further suggesting GABAB receptor dysfunction. In conclusion, our data identify changes in GABAB receptor subunit expression and distribution along with decreased paired-pulse depression in epileptic WAG/Rij rat neocortex. We propose that these alterations may contribute to neocortical hyperexcitability and thus to SW generation in absence epilepsy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-641
Number of pages11
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007


  • Absence seizures
  • GABA receptor
  • Immunofluorescence
  • Paired-pulse depression
  • Real-Time PCR
  • WAG/Rij rats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology


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