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Durham University

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Publication details for Dr S Pyner

Cork, S.C., Chazot, P.L. & Pyner, S. (2016). Altered GABAA α5 subunit expression in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus of hypertensive and pregnant rats. Neuroscience Letters 620: 148-153.

Author(s) from Durham


A characteristic of both hypertension and pregnancy is increased sympathetic nerve activity. The level of sympathetic activation is determined, in part, by a tonic GABAergic inhibition arising from the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN). In hypertension, decreases in GABAergic inhibition and increases in glutamatergic excitation within the PVN contribute to this sympatho-excitation. In late-term pregnancy however, the sympatho-excitation appears to be mediated by decreases in GABAergic inhibition only. This study examined whether changes in subunit expression for GABAA receptors in the PVN could provide a molecular basis for the sympatho-excitation characteristic of hypertension and pregnancy. Hypertension and pregnancy were accompanied by significant decrease in the GABAA receptor α5 subunit in the PVN. We suggest that decreases in the α5 subunit of the GABAA receptor may be important in mediating the sympatho-excitation observed in both hypertension and pregnancy.