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Increased GABA(A) channel subunits expression in CD8(+) but not in CD4(+) T cells in BB rats developing diabetes compared to their congenic littermates

  • Suresh Kumar Mendu
  • Lina Åkesson
  • Zhe Jin
  • Anna Edlund
  • Corrado Cilio
  • Åke Lernmark
  • Bryndis Birnira
Publishing year: 2011
Language: English
Pages: 399-407
Publication/Series: Molecular Immunology
Volume: 48
Issue: 4
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Pergamon

Abstract english

GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the central nervous system is also present in the pancreatic islet beta cells where it may function as a paracrine molecule and perhaps as an immunomodulator of lymphocytes infiltrating the pancreatic islet. We examined CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells from diabetes prone (DRlyp/lyp) or resistant (DR+/+) congenic biobreeding (BB) rats for expression of GABA(A) channels. Our results show that BB rat CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells express alpha 1, alpha 2, alpha 3, alpha 4, alpha 6, beta 3, gamma 1, delta, rho 1 and rho 2 CABA(A) channel subunits. In CD8(+) T cells from DRlyp/lyp animals the subunits were significantly upregulated relative to expression levels in the CD8+ T cells from DR+/+ rats as well as from CD4(+) T cells from both DRlyp/lyp and DR+/+ rats. Functional channels were formed in the T cells and physiological concentrations of GABA (100 nM) decreased T cell proliferation. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that GABA in the islets of Langerhans may diminish inflammation by inhibition of activated T lymphocytes. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Immunology in the medical area
  • GABA
  • Diabetes
  • Lymphocytes
  • GABA(A) subunits
  • Proliferation
  • Immunomodulation


  • Diabetes and Celiac Unit
  • Diabetes - Islet Cell Exocytosis
  • ISSN: 1872-9142
E-mail: ake [dot] lernmark [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Principal investigator

Diabetes and Celiac Unit

+46 40 39 19 01

+46 70 616 47 79


Jan Waldenströms gata 35, Malmö


Lund University Diabetes Centre, CRC, SUS Malmö, Jan Waldenströms gata 35, House 91:12. SE-214 28 Malmö. Telephone: +46 40 39 10 00