Hippocampal γ-aminobutyric acid and benzodiazepine receptors after early phenobarbital exposure

Chaim G. Pick, Abraham Weizman, Fuad Fares, Moshe Gavish, Baruch I. Kanner, Joseph Yanai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mice were exposed to phenobarbital (PhB) prenatally (PreB offspring) by feeding their mothers 3 g/kg PhB in milled food on gestation days 9-18, or neonatally by directly injecting pups of intact mothers with daily dose of 50 mg PhB on postnatal days 2-21 (NeoB offspring). At age 22 or 50 days, the offspring were tested for γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) up take in the hippocampus and in the rest of the brain. In addition, [3H]muscimol and [3H]flunitrazepam binding in the hippocampus and cortex were measured in the offspring at age 22 and 50 days. Long-term decrease in GABA uptake was found in the NeoB group. A 23% decrease was found in 22-day-old mice (P < 0.001) and a 22% decrease in 50-day-old mice (P < 0.05). In addition, there was a 22% decrease in GABA uptake in the brain of 22-day-old PreB mice (P < 0.05). An increase of 52% in [3H]muscimol binding (P < 0.001) and 45% (P < 0.001) in [3H]flunitrazepam binding were measured in the hippocampus in the 22-day-old NeoB mice; no differences were found in affinity. The differences were short-term and could no longer be detected at age 50 days. No differences were found in the cortex; unlike NeoB, PreB mice did not differ from controls. The results suggest upregulation of the GABAergic system in early PhB exposed mice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-116
Number of pages6
JournalDevelopmental Brain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 16 Jul 1993
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements. Supported by USPHS Grant DA-667(l and by a grant from The Israeli Anti Drug Authority.


  • Benzodiazepine receptor
  • Early exposure
  • Hippocampus
  • Phenobarbital
  • γ-Aminobutyric acid receptor
  • γ-Aminobutyric acid uptake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology


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