Specific GABAA circuits in brain development and therapy

H. Möhler, J. M. Fritschy, F. Crestani, T. Hensch, U. Rudolph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


GABAergic interneurons are highly diverse and operate with a corresponding diversity of GABAA receptor subtypes in controlling behaviour. In this article, we review the significance of GABAA receptor heterogeneity for neural circuit development and central nervous system pharmacology. GABAA receptor subtypes were identified as selective targets for behavioural actions of benzodiazepines and of selected intravenous anesthetic agents using point mutations which render a specific receptor subtype insensitive to the action of the respective drugs and also by novel subtype-selective ligands. The pharmacological separation of anxiolysis and sedation guides the development of novel anxiolytics, while inverse agonism at extrasynaptic GABAA receptors involved in learning and memory is currently being evaluated as a novel therapeutic principle for symptomatic memory enhancement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1685-1690
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 15 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Benzodiazepines
  • Hypnotics anxiolytics
  • Learning and memory
  • Neuronal plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology


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