GABA, acting via GABAA receptors, is well-accepted as the main inhibitory neurotransmitter of the mature brain, where it dampens neuronal excitability. The receptors properties have been studied extensively, yielding important information about its structure, pharmacology, and regulation that are summarized in this review. Several GABAergic drugs have been commonly used as anesthetics, sedatives, and anticonvulsants for decades. However, findings that GABA has critical functions in brain development, in particular during the late embryonic and neonatal period, raise worthwhile questions regarding the side effects of GABAergic drugs that may lead to long-term cognitive deficits. Here, we will review some of these drugs in parallel with the control of CNS development that GABA exerts via activation of GABAA receptors. This review aims to provide a basic science and clinical perspective on the function of GABA and related pharmaceuticals acting at GABAA receptors.
Keywords: GABA, anesthesia, epilepsy, neurogenesis, glutamate, proliferation, apoptosis, synaptic
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