Journal article

Increased anxiety and altered responses to anxiolytics in mice deficient in the 65-kDa isoform of glutamic acid decarboxylase

The larger isoform of the enzyme glutamate decarboxylase, GAD67, synthesizes >90% of basal levels of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. In contrast, the smaller isoform, GAD65, has been implicated in the fine-tuning of inhibitory neurotransmission. Mice deficient in GAD65 exhibit increased anxiety-like responses in both the open field and elevated zero maze assays. Additionally, GAD65-deficient mice have a diminished response to the anxiolytics diazepam and pentobarbital, both of which interact with GABA-A receptors in a GABA-dependent fashion to facilitate GABAergic neurotransmission. Loss of GAD65-generated GABA does not appear to result in compensatory postsynaptic GABA-A receptor changes based on radioligand receptor binding studies, which revealed no change in the postsynaptic GABA-A receptor density. Furthermore, mutant and wild-type animals do not differ in their behavioral response to muscimol, which acts independently of the presence of GABA. We propose that stress-induced GABA release is impaired in GAD65-deficient mice, resulting in increased anxiety-like responses and a diminished response to the acute effects of drugs that facilitate the actions of released GABA.


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