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Open Access Research

Activation of GABAB receptors inhibits protein kinase B /Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 signaling

Frances Fangjia Lu1, Ping Su1, Fang Liu12* and Zafiris J Daskalakis12*

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 250 College Street, Toronto, ON, M5T 1, Canada

2 Departments of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, M5T 1R8, Canada

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Molecular Brain 2012, 5:41  doi:10.1186/1756-6606-5-41

Published: 28 November 2012

Abstract

Accumulated evidence has suggested that potentiation of cortical GABAergic inhibitory neurotransmission may be a key mechanism in the treatment of schizophrenia. However, the downstream molecular mechanisms related to GABA potentiation remain unexplored. Recent studies have suggested that dopamine D2 receptor antagonists, which are used in the clinical treatment of schizophrenia, modulate protein kinase B (Akt)/glycogen synthase kinase (GSK)-3 signaling. Here we report that activation of GABAB receptors significantly inhibits Akt/GSK-3 signaling in a β-arrestin-dependent pathway. Agonist stimulation of GABAB receptors enhances the phosphorylation of Akt (Thr-308) and enhances the phosphorylation of GSK-3α (Ser-21)/β (Ser-9) in both HEK-293T cells expressing GABAB receptors and rat hippocampal slices. Furthermore, knocking down the expression of β-arrestin2 using siRNA abolishes the GABAB receptor-mediated modulation of GSK-3 signaling. Our data may help to identify potentially novel targets through which GABAB receptor agents may exert therapeutic effects in the treatment of schizophrenia.