Conductance states activated by glycine and GABA in rat cultured spinal neurones

Stephen M. Smith, Robert Zorec, Robert N. McBurney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The conductance properties of single Cl- channels activated by glycine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) were examined in rat spinal cord neurones grown in cell culture. The majority (85%) of spinal neurones were sensitive to both glycine and GABA as were most (83%) outside-out patches tested. Glycine and GABA activated multiple conductance state Cl- channels with linear current-voltage properties when the chloride activities of the solutions bathing both sides of the membrane were similar. Glycine activated six distinct conductance states with conductances of 14, 20, 30, 43, 64 and 93 pS, whereas GABA activated five states with conductances of 13, 20, 29, 39 and 71 pS. The 30 and 43 pS states and the 20 and 29 pS states were observed most frequently with glycine and GABA, respectively. As the values of the glycine- and GABA-activated conductance states form a geometric progression when arranged in ascending order, we concluded that the channels do not consist of a cluster of identical pores. Additional conductance states (50 and 100 pS) were activated by glycine occasionally. The similarity between the conductances of the states activated by the two transmitters is consistent with the proposal that they both activate the same type of Cl- channel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-52
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of Membrane Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • GABA
  • chloride channels
  • glycine
  • spinal cord neurones and tissue culture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


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