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gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) synthesis in the brain is mediated by two major isoforms of glutamic acid decarboxylase, GAD(65) and GAD(67). The contribution of these isoforms to GABA synthesis flux (V(GAD)) is not known quantitatively. In the present study we compared V(GAD) in cortex of control and vigabatrin-treated rats under alpha-chloralose/70% nitrous oxide anesthesia, with total GAD activity and GAD isoform composition (GAD(65) and GAD(67)) measured by enzymatic assay and quantitative immunoblotting. V(GAD) was determined by re-analysis of 13C NMR data obtained ex vivo and in vivo during infusions of [1-13C]glucose using an extension of a model of glutamate-glutamine cycling that included a discrete GABAergic neuronal compartment with relevant interconnecting fluxes. V(GAD) was significantly lower in vigabatrin-treated rats (0.030-0.05 micromol/min per g, P<0.003) compared to the non-treated control group (0.10-0.15 micromol/min per g). The 67-70% decrease in V(GAD) was associated with a 13% decrease in total GAD activity (P=0.01) and a selective 44+/-15% decrease in GAD(67) protein (from 0.63+/-0.10 to 0.35+/-0.08 microg protein/mg tissue, P<0.05); GAD(65) protein was unchanged. The reduction in GAD(67) protein could account for a maximum of approximately 65% of the decrease in V(GAD) in vigabatrin-treated animals suggesting that inhibition of GAD(65) must have also occurred in these experiments, although product inhibition of GAD(67) by increased GABA could play a role. GAD(67) could account for 56-85% of cortical GABA synthesis flux under basal conditions and the entire flux after vigabatrin treatment.

Original publication




Journal article


Brain Res

Publication Date





81 - 91


4-Aminobutyrate Transaminase, Animals, Astrocytes, Carbon Radioisotopes, Cerebral Cortex, Down-Regulation, Enzyme Inhibitors, Glutamate Decarboxylase, Glutamic Acid, Glutamine, Isoenzymes, Kinetics, Male, Neurons, Protein Isoforms, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Vigabatrin, gamma-Aminobutyric Acid