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Neural Plasticity
Volume 7 (2000), Issue 1-2, Pages 31-42

GABA Withdrawal Modifies Network Activity in Cultured Hippocampal Neurons

1Department of Neurobiology, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel
2Department of Virology and Development, Ben-Gurion University, Beer Sheva 84105, Israel

Copyright © 2000 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Dissociated hippocampal neurons, grown in culture for 2 to 3 weeks, tended to fire bursts of synaptic currents at fairly regular intervals, representing network activity. A brief exposure of cultured neurons to GABA caused a total suppression of the spontaneous network activity. Following a washout of GABA, the activity was no longer clustered in bursts and instead, the cells fired at a high rate tonic manner. The effect of removing GABA could be seen as long as 1 to 2 days after GABA withdrawal and is expressed as an increase in the number of active cells in a network, as well as in their firing rates. Such striking effects of GABA removal may underlie part of the GABA withdrawal syndrome seen elsewhere.