A subgroup of anticonvulsant and neuroleptic drugs acts through the potentiation of GABA pathways. The regulatory role of GABA in neuronal circuit formation is related to its depolarizing action that supports activity-dependent synaptogenesis. We hypothesized that elevated levels of GABA in the immature brain modify synaptogenesis in excitatory synapses and consequently affect mice behavior. In support of this theory, we showed previously that neonatal exposure to a GABA-transaminase inhibitor (Vigabatrin, GVG) modifies the expression of presynaptic proteins and suppresses excitatory synaptic potentials. To further characterize this phenomenon, we examined the effect of GVG applied during postnatal days 4-14, during the switch in GABA function from a depolarizing to a hyperpolarizing substance, on the development of excitatory synapses and mice sociability. Early exposure to GVG induced differential effects on synaptic proteins in the hippocampus and the cerebral cortex, including the downregulation of GluR1/GluR2 and NR2A/NR2B ratios in the hippocampus cytoplasm, a minute effect on the regulatory proteins CAMKII and PKA in the cerebral cortex, and increases in pGluR1, CAMKII, PKA and Reelin levels. Early GVG exposure was also associated with region specific regulation of monoamines, reduction in hippocampal DA, and enhancement of cortical NE levels. Age-dependent modified sociability and lack of preference for social interactions were observed in mice treated with GVG. Overall, early life exposure to GVG is expected to alter cortico-hippocampal axis connectivity and balance due to the different effects GVG has on key synaptic proteins in the associated brain regions, thus potentially causing behavioral impairment.
- Social behavior