Effects of learned helplessness on brain GABA receptors

Martin L. Kram, Gerald L. Kramer, Mark Steciuk, Patrick J. Ronan, Frederick Petty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


GABA is involved in both clinical depression and in animal models of depression; however, the roles of GABA(A) and GABA(B) receptors in specific brain regions are not clear. Changes in densities of both GABA(A) and GABA(B) receptors have been reported with the learned helplessness animal model of depression and with chronic antidepressant drug treatment. However, some of these findings are discrepant. Thus, we used quantitative autoradiography to study the GABA(A) and GABA(B) receptors in learned helplessness and we used an experimental paradigm that allows non-specific effects of stress to be differentiated from learned helplessness. Densities of GABA binding were measured in prefrontal cortex, septum, hippocampus, hypothalamus and amygdala. In the septum, learned helpless rats had increased densities of GABA(A) receptors and rats that did not become helpless after inescapable stress had decreased GABA(B) receptor densities. No significant group differences of GABA(A) or GABA(B) receptor densities were observed in any other brain region studied. These results suggest a unique role for the septum in modulating GABA in the learned helplessness animal model of depression. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd and the Japan Neuroscience Society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-198
Number of pages6
JournalNeuroscience Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Animal model
  • Behavior
  • Depression
  • GABA(A) receptor
  • GABA(B) receptor
  • Learned helplessness
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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