Bestrophin1 Channels are Insensitive to Ethanol and Do not Mediate Tonic GABAergic Currents in Cerebellar Granule Cells. Academic Article uri icon


  • The granule cell layer of the cerebellum functions in spatio-temporal encoding of information. Granule cells (GCs) are tonically inhibited by spillover of GABA released from Golgi cells and this tonic inhibition is facilitated by acute ethanol. Recently, it was demonstrated that a specialized Ca(2+)-activated anion-channel, bestrophin1 (Best1), found on glial cells, can release GABA that contributes up to 50-75% of the tonic GABAergic current. However, it is unknown if ethanol has any actions on Best1 function. Using whole-cell electrophysiology, we found that recombinant Best1 channels expressed in HEK-293 cells were insensitive to 40 and 80 mM ethanol. We attempted to measure the Best1-mediated component of the tonic current in slices using 5-nitro-2-(3-phenylpropylamino)benzoic acid (NPPB). We confirmed that this agent blocks recombinant Best1 channels. Unexpectedly, we found that NPPB significantly potentiated the tonic current and the area and decay of GABA(A)-mediated spontaneous inhibitory post-synaptic currents (IPSCs) in GCs in rodent slices under two different recording conditions. To better isolate the Best1-dependent tonic current component, we blocked the Golgi cell component of the tonic current with tetrodotoxin and found that NPPB similarly and significantly potentiated the tonic current amplitude and decay time of miniature IPSCs. Two other Cl(-)-channel blockers were also tested: 4'-diisothiocyanatostilbene-2,2'-disulfonic acid disodium salt hydrate (DIDS) showed no effect on GABAergic transmission, while niflumic acid (NFA) significantly suppressed the tonic current noise, as well as the mIPSC frequency, amplitude, and area. These data suggest that acute ethanol exposure does not modulate Best1 channels and these findings serve to challenge recent data indicating that these channels participate in the generation of tonic GABAergic currents in cerebellar GCs.

publication date

  • 2011