Experimental hepatic encephalopathy: changes in the binding of gamma-aminobutyric acid

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Science  23 Apr 1982:
Vol. 216, Issue 4544, pp. 427-429
DOI: 10.1126/science.6280279


Two populations of receptors for gamma-aminobutyric acid, one with low- and the other with high-affinity characteristics, are detectable in frozen, thawed, Triton-treated synaptic membrane preparations from normal brain. It is now reported that membrane preparations from rats with mild galactosamine-induced hepatic encephalopathy show an increase in the number of low- and high-affinity gamma-aminobutyric acid binding sites, whereas those from rats with severe encephalopathy show only high-affinity binding sites. Thus, hepatic encephalopathy appears to involve partial degeneration of the gamma-aminobutyric acid-containing presynaptic nerve terminals.