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γ-Amino-butyric acid (GABA) receptor subunit and transporter expression in the gonad and liver of the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas)

Katie Biggs, Jason S Seidel, Alex Wilson, Christopher J Martyniuk
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part A, Molecular & Integrative Physiology 2013, 166 (1): 119-27
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γ-Amino-butyric acid (GABA) is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the vertebrate central nervous system. GABA receptors and synthesizing enzymes have also been localized to peripheral tissues including the liver, oviduct, uterus and ovary of mammals but the distribution and role of GABA in peripheral tissues of fish has not been fully investigated. The objectives of this study were to (1) determine if mRNA encoding GABA synthesizing enzymes (glutamic acid decarboxylase 65 and 67; gad65 and gad67), GABA transporters, and GABAA receptor subunits are localized to liver and gonad of fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas) (FHM) (2) investigate the effects of GABA on ovarian 17β-estradiol (E2) production, and (3) measure transcript responses in the ovary after in vitro incubation to GABA. Real-time PCR assays were developed for gad65, gad67, vesicular GABA transporter (vgat) and GABA transporter 1 (gat1), and select GABAA receptor subunits (gabra1, gabra5, gabrb1, gabrb2, gabrg1, gabrg2). All transcripts were localized to the brain as expected; however transcripts were also detected in the liver, ovary, and testis of FHMs. In the female liver, gad65 mRNA was significantly higher in expression compared to the male liver. Transcripts for gad67 were the highest in the brain>gonad>liver and in the gonads, gad67 was significantly higher in expression than gad65 mRNA. In the liver and gonad, the relative abundance of the subunits followed a general trend of gabrb1>gabrb2=gabrg1=gabrg2>gabra1=gabra5. To explore the effects of GABA in the ovary, tissue explants from reproductive female FHMs were treated with GABA (10(-10), 10(-8) and 10(-6)M) for 12h. GABA had no significant effect on 17β-estradiol production or on mRNA abundance for genes involved in ovarian steroidogenesis (e.g., 11βhsd, cyp17, cyp19a). There was a significant decrease in estrogen receptor 2a (esr2a) mRNA with 10(-10)M GABA. This study begins to investigate the GABA system in non-neural tissues of teleost fish and addresses the broader topic regarding the peripheral roles of neurotransmitters.

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