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GABA, a natural immunomodulator of T lymphocytes
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2008 (English)In: Journal of Neuroimmunology, ISSN 0165-5728, E-ISSN 1872-8421, Vol. 205, no 1-2, 44-50 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the main neuroinhibitory transmitter in the brain. Here we show that GABA in the extracellular space may affect the fate of pathogenic T lymphocytes entering the brain. We examined in encephalitogenic T cells if they expressed functional GABA channels that could be activated by the low (nM-1 microM), physiological concentrations of GABA present around neurons in the brain. The cells expressed the alpha1, alpha4, beta2, beta3, gamma1 and delta GABAA channel subunits and formed functional, extrasynaptic-like GABA channels that were activated by 1 microM GABA. 100 nM and higher GABA concentrations decreased T cell proliferation. The results are consistent with GABA being immunomodulatory.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2008. Vol. 205, no 1-2, 44-50 p.
Keyword [en]
GABAA, Tonic current, Inhibition, T cell
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-172499DOI: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2008.08.017PubMedID: 18954912OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-172499DiVA: diva2:514795
Available from: 2012-04-10 Created: 2012-04-10 Last updated: 2012-11-07
In thesis
1. Role of GABA and GABAA Channels in T lymphocytes and Stem cells
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Role of GABA and GABAA Channels in T lymphocytes and Stem cells
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is best known for its physiological function in the central nervous system.  In the brain GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter where it decreases excitability of neurons and neuronal networks.  The balance between excitation evoked by glutamate and inhibition evoked by GABA is the base from where the brain works. It is fair to say that glutamate is like the gas-pedal and GABA the brake that keeps the brain running at a normal speed.  But, it is not only in the brain that GABA is taking a part in a physiological process vital to life. GABA is present in blood and is even released in the pancreatic islets. What function GABA has in these tissues is still being examined and is the focus of this thesis. The GABA concentration in the peripheral tissues is in the submicromolar concentration range. 

The studies in this thesis support the idea that GABA reduces the proliferation and cytokine secretion from immune cells by activating high-affinity GABAA channels in the cells. In contrast, in retinal progenitor stem cells GABA promotes cell proliferation.  These studies demonstrate that the effect of GABA on proliferation is cell-type specific. The GABAA channel subunit isoforms expressed in human, mice and rats T cells differ between the species.  This interspecies variability will result in different pharmacological profile of the subtypes of GABAA channels expressed whereas the physiological process most likely is the same.  Clearly, GABA is not only a neurotransmitter molecule but is also an immunomodulator and an important signal molecule in peripheral tissues. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2012. 60 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 768
National Category
Neurosciences Physiology
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-172541 (URN)978-91-554-8348-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-05-28, C4 :301, BMC, Husargatan 3, Uppsala, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2012-05-07 Created: 2012-04-11 Last updated: 2012-08-01Bibliographically approved

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