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GABAB receptor function in the ileum and urinary bladder of wildtype and GABAB1 subunit null mice

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1 GABAB1 receptor subunit knockout mice were generated and the effects of the GABAB receptor agonist, baclofen, were evaluated within the peripheral nervous system (PNS) of wildtype (+/+), heterozygote (+/–) and knockout (–/–) animals. For this purpose, neuronally-mediated responses were evoked in both the isolated ileum and urinary bladder, using selective electrical field stimulation (EFS).

2 In ileum resected from 4–8-week-old-mice, low frequencies of EFS (0.5 Hz) evoked irregular muscle contractions which were prevented by atropine 1 μM and reduced by baclofen (33.4 ± 5.6%, 100 μm). The latter effect was antagonized by the GABAB receptor antagonist CGP54626 0.2 μm. Baclofen 100 μmdid not affect contractions of similar amplitude induced by carbachol, indicating that the ability of baclofen to inhibit cholinergic function in mouse ileum may be due to an action at prejunctional GABAB receptors.

3 To avoid the development of grand mal seizure by GABAB1 (–/–) mice, a behaviour observed when the mice were greater than 3 weeks old, it was necessary to study the effects of this knockout in 1–3-week-old-animals. However, at this age, EFS at 0.5 Hz did not evoke robust muscle contractions. Consequently we used EFS at 5 Hz, which did evoke cholinergically mediated contractions, found to be of similar amplitude in (+/+) and (+/–) mice, of both 1–3 weeks and 4–8 weeks of age. At this frequency of EFS, baclofen reduced the amplitude of the evoked contractions [n=6 (+/+) and n=5 (+/–), IC50 19.2 ± 4.8 μm) and this effect was greatly reduced in the presence of CGP54626 0.2 μm.

4 In urinary bladder from 1–3-week-old-mice, using higher frequencies of EFS to evoke clear, nerve-mediated contractions (10 Hz), baclofen 10–300 μmconcentration-dependently inhibited contractions in (+/+) mice (IC50 9.6 ± 3.8 μm). This effect was inhibited by CGP54626 (0.2 μm, 46.2 ± 13.6% inhibition, 300 μmbaclofen n=7) a concentration which, by itself, had no effect on the EFS-evoked contractions.

5 The effects of baclofen in both ileum and urinary bladder were absent in the GABAB1 receptor subunit (–/–) mice; however, responses to EFS were unaffected in (–/–) when compared to the (+/+) mice.

6 Our data suggest that, as in the central nervous system (CNS), the GABAB1 receptor subunit is an essential requirement for GABAB receptor function in the enteric and PNS. As such, these data do not provide a structural explanation for the existence of putative subtypes of GABAB receptor, suggested by studies such as those in which different rank-orders of GABAB agonist affinity have been reported in different tissues.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Gastrointestinal and 2: Department of Biological Sciences, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, Herts, AL10 9AB, UK 3: Neurodegeneration Research, Neurology and GI CEDD, GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals, Harlow, Essex, UK, CM19 5AW and

Publication date: June 1, 2002


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