GABA Becomes Exciting

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Science  15 Nov 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5597, pp. 1350-1351
DOI: 10.1126/science.1079446

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It has been known for decades that epileptic seizures are caused by hyperexcitability of neurons in the brain, but what causes this hyperexcitability remains unclear. In his Perspective, Köhling explores new work (Cohen et al.) showing that inhibitory interneurons, previously believed to keep excitatory pyramidal neurons in the hippocampal region in check, can sometimes switch behavior and become excitatory leading to discharges reminiscent of epileptic activity.

The author is at the Institute of Physiology, University of Münster, 48149 Münster, Germany. E-mail: