The GABA B receptor as a target for antidepressant drug action

Subroto Ghose, Michelle K. Winter, Kenneth E. McCarson, Carol A. Tamminga, Salvatore J. Enna

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Preclinical and clinical data suggest that a modification in GABA B receptor expression and function may contribute to the symptoms of major depression and the response to antidepressants. This includes laboratory animal experiments demonstrating that antidepressants modify brain GABA B receptor expression and function and that GABA B receptor antagonists display antidepressant potential in animal models of this condition. Clinical and post-mortem studies reveal changes in GABAergic transmission associated with depression as well as depression-related changes in GABA B subunit expression that are localized to the cortical depression network. Detailed in this review are the preclinical and clinical data implicating a role for the GABA B receptor system in mediating symptoms of this disorder and its possible involvement in the response to antidepressants. Particular emphasis is placed on clinical and post-mortem studies, including previously unpublished work demonstrating regionally-selective modifications in GABA B receptor subunit expression in brain samples obtained from depressed subjects. Together with the earlier preclinical studies, these new data point to a role for the GABA B system in major depression and support the antidepressant potential of GABA B receptor antagonists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • GABA receptor expression
  • GABA receptors
  • antidepressants
  • dentate gyrus
  • depression
  • hippocampus
  • human brain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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