Vesicular inhibitory amino acid transporter is expressed in γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-containing astrocytes in rat pineal glands

Noriko Echigo, Yoshinori Moriyama

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12 Citations (Scopus)


γ-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an inhibitory amino acid and acts as an intercellular transmitter in the central nervous system and peripheral tissues. In pineal glands, GABA is supposed to be a paracrine-like modulator of secretion of melatonin, although its mode of action, especially the sites of GABA signal appearance, is unknown. Vesicular inhibitory amino acid transporter (VIAAT) is a potential marker for the GABAergic phenotype. Here we presented evidence that VIAAT is expressed in GFAP-expressing astrocytes and a subpopulation of OX42-expressing microglia, but not in pinealocytes in cultured cells of rat pineal glands. The VIAAT-expressing cells also exhibit GABA immunoreactivity. Essentially the same results were obtained for pineal glands. These results suggest that GABA is stored and secreted from astrocytes and a subpopulation of microglia in pineal glands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-84
Number of pages6
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 26 2004



  • γ-aminobutyrate
  • Astrocyte
  • GABA
  • GFAP
  • glial fibrillary acidic protein
  • Melatonin
  • Pineal gland
  • Pinealocyte
  • SLMV
  • synaptic-like microvesicle
  • vesicular inhibitory amino acid transporter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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