Differential sensitivity of presynaptic and postsynaptic GABAB receptors in rat ventrolateral periaqueductal gray

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The ventrolateral periaqueductal gray (PAG) in the midbrain plays a key role in the descending pain modulatory system. γ-Aminobutyric acid type B (GABAB) receptors belong to a metabotropic receptor subfamily and mediate both presynaptic and postsynaptic effects in PAG. It has been well documented that activation of GABAB receptors yields analgesia in some PAG subdivisions. In the present study, employing whole-cell patch-clamp recordings on acute rat PAG slices, we simultaneously monitored the responses of presynaptic and postsynaptic GABAB receptors. We found that the GABAB agonist, baclofen, exhibits less efficacy and potency at GABAB postsynaptic versus presynaptic receptors. This sensitivity bias may contribute to synapse homeostasis and implicate a novel pharmacotherapy treatment.

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