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Autoradiographic identification of cerebral and cerebellar cortical neurons accumulating labeled gamma-aminobutyric acid (3H-GABA)

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Small amounts of labeled gamma-aminobutyric acid (3H-GABA), a putative neurotransmitter, were injected stereotaxically into the cerebral and cerebellar cortices of rats pretreated with aminooxyacetic acid (AOAA), a drug which prevents GABA breakdown. After fixation by aldehyde perfusion the tissue was processed for light and electron microscopic autoradiography.

Specific autoradiographic uptake patterns were observed in both cortices. A high activity was found mainly over stellate and basket cells in the cerebellar cortex and over stellate cells in the cerebral cortex. Also probable Golgi cells seem to accumulate 3H-GABA. Pyramidal cells and Purkinje cells, on the other hand, showed a low activity. Thus, uptake and retention of 3H-GABA in the brain areas studied seem to be related to interneurons supposed to have an inhibitory function. This is consistent with the view that GABA serves as the major inhibitory transmitter substance in mammalian cortical areas.

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Hökfelt, T., Ljungdahl, Å. Autoradiographic identification of cerebral and cerebellar cortical neurons accumulating labeled gamma-aminobutyric acid (3H-GABA). Exp Brain Res 14, 354–362 (1972).

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Key words

  • GABA uptake
  • Cortical areas
  • Autoradiography