Research Topic

GABA signaling in development and maldevelopment

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Neurotransmitter GABA, by binding to Cl- permeable ionotropic GABAA and metabotropic GABAB receptors, is a powerful modulator of development, plasticity, and function of neuronal networks. GABA exerts these functions by phasic and tonic actions that entail both modulation of cell membrane polarization and ...

Neurotransmitter GABA, by binding to Cl- permeable ionotropic GABAA and metabotropic GABAB receptors, is a powerful modulator of development, plasticity, and function of neuronal networks. GABA exerts these functions by phasic and tonic actions that entail both modulation of cell membrane polarization and shunting of other neurotransmitters’ currents. In particular, during neuronal development, GABAergic signaling regulates fundamental processes such as neural proliferation, migration, differentiation, and neuronal-network wiring. Accordingly, GABA has been implicated in a number of neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, Down syndrome, Rett syndrome, epilepsy, Tourette's syndrome, Fragile X, and Neurofibromatosis. Nevertheless, whether defects in GABAergic signaling are a cause or a consequence of these developmental diseases is still under investigation. Moreover, drugs modulating GABAergic signaling, such as benzodiazepines and a number of antiepileptics, diuretics or myorelaxants are commonly used in clinical practice. If from one end their therapeutic efficacy is well accepted, weather and to what extent these drugs may be harmful to brain development is yet under debate.
In the never-ending effort to find possible causes and treatments for neurodevelopmental diseases, the understanding of the mechanisms underlying the physiological development and plasticity regulated by GABAergic signaling is a required first step. To this aim, we welcome investigators to contribute review as well as research articles in different topics concerning GABAergic signaling, including (but not limited to):
Mechanisms regulating Cl- homeostasis and consequent GABAergic signaling.
Tonic and phasic currents in GABAergic signaling.
Hyperpolarizing/depolarizing GABA and shunting inhibition in GABAergic signaling.
GABA and glycine transporters in inhibitory neurotransmission.
GABA signaling in brain development and plasticity.
Role of GABA in the generation of spontaneous network events.
Role of other neurotransmitters (taurine and glycine) signaling through Cl- permeable ion channels.
GABA signaling in developing neurons during adult neurogenesis.
GABA signaling in developing neuroendocrine systems.
Molecular mechanisms underlying GABAergic circuit development and plasticity.
GABAergic interneuron neurogenesis and organization.
Genetic and epigenetic influence on GABAergic signaling functions.
Modifications of GABAergic signaling in neurodevelopmental disorders.
Modifications of GABAergic signaling in epilepsy.
Effect of GABA-modulating drugs on brain development and function.
Novel experimental approaches for addressing GABAergic signaling.

The final goal of this research topic is to stimulate the discussion and open new research perspectives among experts and non experts in the understanding of the role of GABA signaling during development, plasticity, and function of neuronal networks, under physiological and pathological conditions both in humans and animal models.


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