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Stroke is a leading cause of disability, but no pharmacological therapy is currently available for promoting recovery. The brain region adjacent to stroke damage-the peri-infarct zone-is critical for rehabilitation, as it shows heightened neuroplasticity, allowing sensorimotor functions to re-map from damaged areas. Thus, understanding the neuronal properties constraining this plasticity is important for the development of new treatments. Here we show that after a stroke in mice, tonic neuronal inhibition is increased in the peri-infarct zone. This increased tonic inhibition is mediated by extrasynaptic GABA(A) receptors and is caused by an impairment in GABA (γ-aminobutyric acid) transporter (GAT-3/GAT-4) function. To counteract the heightened inhibition, we administered in vivo a benzodiazepine inverse agonist specific for α5-subunit-containing extrasynaptic GABA(A) receptors at a delay after stroke. This treatment produced an early and sustained recovery of motor function. Genetically lowering the number of α5- or δ-subunit-containing GABA(A) receptors responsible for tonic inhibition also proved beneficial for recovery after stroke, consistent with the therapeutic potential of diminishing extrasynaptic GABA(A) receptor function. Together, our results identify new pharmacological targets and provide the rationale for a novel strategy to promote recovery after stroke and possibly other brain injuries.
 Department of Neurology, The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, 635 Charles Young Drive South, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA  These authors contributed equally to this work.  Present address: Departments of Psychology and Anatomy and
This article was published in the following journal.
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Drugs that bind to but do not activate GABA-A RECEPTORS thereby blocking the actions of endogenous or exogenous GABA-A RECEPTOR AGONISTS.
Drugs that bind to but do not activate GABA-B RECEPTORS thereby blocking the actions of endogenous or exogenous GABA-B RECEPTOR AGONISTS.
Cell surface proteins which bind GAMMA-AMINOBUTYRIC ACID and influence cells via interactions with G-proteins. GABA-B receptors are pharmacologically characterized by their insensitivity to the blocker bicuculline and sensitivity to the agonist L-baclofen. They are found both presynaptically and postsynaptically, and act variously by inhibition of adenylate cyclase, activation of phospholipase A2, activation of potassium channels, and inactivation of voltage-activated calcium channels.
Excessive winking; tonic or clonic spasm of the orbicularis oculi muscle.
The intracellular transfer of information (biological activation/inhibition) through a signal pathway. In each signal transduction system, an activation/inhibition signal from a biologically active molecule (hormone, neurotransmitter) is mediated via the coupling of a receptor/enzyme to a second messenger system or to an ion channel. Signal transduction plays an important role in activating cellular functions, cell differentiation, and cell proliferation. Examples of signal transduction systems are the GAMMA-AMINOBUTYRIC ACID-postsynaptic receptor-calcium ion channel system, the receptor-mediated T-cell activation pathway, and the receptor-mediated activation of phospholipases. Those coupled to membrane depolarization or intracellular release of calcium include the receptor-mediated activation of cytotoxic functions in granulocytes and the synaptic potentiation of protein kinase activation. Some signal transduction pathways may be part of larger signal transduction pathways; for example, protein kinase activa
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