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Alejandre-Garcia, Tzitzitlini; Pena-del Castillo, Johanna G; Hernandez-Cruz, Arturo (2018)

GABA(A) RECEPTOR: A UNIQUE MODULATOR OF EXCITABILITY, CA2+ SIGNALING, AND CATECHOLAMINE RELEASE OF RAT CHROMAFFIN CELLS

Pflugers Arch. 470(SI):67-77
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The role of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in adrenal medulla chromaffin cell (CC) function is just beginning to unfold. GABA is stored in catecholamine (CA)-containing dense core granules and is presumably released together with CA, ATP, and opioids in response to physiological stimuli, playing an autocrine-paracrine role on CCs. The reported paradoxical "dual action" of GABAA-R activation (enhancement of CA secretion and inhibition of synaptically evoked CA release) is only one aspect of GABA's multifaceted actions. In this review, we discuss recent physiological experiments on rat CCs in situ which suggest that GABA regulation of CC function may depend on the physiological context: During non-stressful conditions, GABAA-R activation by endogenous GABA tonically inhibits acetylcholine release from splanchnic nerve terminals and decreases spontaneous Ca2+ fluctuations in CCs, preventing unwanted CA secretion. During intense stress, splanchnic nerve terminals release acetylcholine, which depolarizes CCs and allows the Ca2+ influx that triggers the release of CA and GABA. With time, CA secretion declines, due to voltage-independent inhibition of Ca2+channels and desensitization of cholinergic nicotinic receptors. Nonetheless, acute activation of GABAA-R is depolarizing in about 50% of CCs, and thus GABA, acting as an autocrine/paracrine mediator, could help to maintain CA exocytosis under stress. GABAA-R activation is not excitatory in about half of CCs' population because it hyperpolarizes them or elicits no response. This percentage possibly varies, depending on functional demands, since GABAA-R-mediated actions are determined by the intracellular chloride concentration ([Cl-] i ) and therefore on the activity of cation-chloride co transporters, which is functionally regulated. These findings underscore a potential importance of a novel and complex GABA-mediated regulation of CC function and of CA secretion.