Endogenous GABAA receptor activity suppresses glioma growth

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Although genome alterations driving glioma by fueling cell malignancy have largely been resolved, less is known of the impact of tumor environment on disease progression. Here, we demonstrate functional GABAA receptor-activated currents in human glioblastoma cells and show the existence of a continuous GABA signaling within the tumor cell mass that significantly affects tumor growth and survival expectancy in mouse models. Endogenous GABA released by tumor cells, attenuates proliferation of the glioma cells with enriched expression of stem/progenitor markers and with competence to seed growth of new tumors. Our results suggest that GABA levels rapidly increase in tumors impeding further growth. Thus, shunting chloride ions by a maintained local GABAA receptor activity within glioma cells has a significant impact on tumor development by attenuating proliferation, reducing tumor growth and prolonging survival, a mechanism that may have important impact on therapy resistance and recurrence following tumor resection.

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