Ambient GABA promotes cortical entry of tangentially migrating cells derived from the medial ganglionic eminence

Verginia C. Cuzon, Pamela W. Yeh, Qing Cheng, Hermes H. Yeh

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    76 Scopus citations


    During corticogenesis, cells from the medial ganglionic eminence (MGE) migrate tangentially into the neocortical anlage. Here we report that γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), via GABAA receptors, regulates tangential migration. In embryonic telencephalic slices, bicuculline produced an outward current in migrating MGE-derived cells in the neocortex, suggesting the presence of and tonic activation by ambient GABA. Ambient GABA was also present in the MGE, although this required demonstration using as bioassay HEK293 cells expressing high-affinity α6/β2/γ2s recombinant GABA A receptors. The concentration of ambient GABA was 0.5 ± 0.1 μM in both regions. MGE-derived cells before the corticostriate juncture (CSJ) were less responsive to GABA than those in the neocortex, and profiling of GABAA receptor subunit transcripts revealed different expression patterns in the MGE vis-à-vis the neocortex. These findings suggest a dynamic expression of GABAA receptor number or isoform as MGE-derived cells enter the neocortex and become tonically influenced by ambient GABA. Treatment with bicuculline or antibody against GABA did not affect migration of MGE-derived cells before the CSJ but decreased "crossing index," reflecting impeded migration past the CSJ into the neocortex. Treatment with diazepam or addition of exogenous GABA increased crossing index. We conclude that ambient GABA promotes cortical entry of tangentially migrating MGE-derived cells.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1377-1388
    Number of pages12
    JournalCerebral Cortex
    Issue number10
    StatePublished - Oct 2006


    • Corticogenesis
    • Developing neocortex
    • GABA receptor
    • GFP-MGE
    • Telencephalic slice coculture

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Cognitive Neuroscience
    • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Ambient GABA promotes cortical entry of tangentially migrating cells derived from the medial ganglionic eminence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this