AT1a influences GABAA-mediated inhibition through regulation of KCC2 expression

George E. Farmer, Kirthikaa Balapattabi, Martha E. Bachelor, Joel T. Little, J. Thomas Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The median preoptic nucleus (MnPO) is an integrative site involved in body fluid homeostasis, cardiovascular control, thermoregulation, and sleep homeostasis. Angiotensin II (ANG II), a neuropeptide shown to have excitatory effects on MnPO neurons, is of particular interest with regard to its role in body fluid homeostasis and cardiovascular control. The present study investigated the role of angiotensin type 1a (AT1a) receptor activation on neuronal excitability in the MnPO. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were infused with an adeno-associated virus with an shRNA against the AT1a receptor or a scrambled control. In vitro loose-patch voltage-clamp recordings of spontaneous action potential activity were made from labeled MnPO neurons in response to brief focal application of ANG II or the GABAA receptor agonist muscimol. Additionally, tissue punches from MnPO were taken to asses mRNA and protein expression. AT1a receptor knockdown neurons were insensitive to ANG II and showed a marked reduction in GABAA-mediated inhibition. The reduction in GABAA-mediated inhibition was not associated with reductions in mRNA or protein expression of GABAA β-subunits. Knockdown of the AT1a receptor was associated with a reduction in the potassium-chloride cotransporter KCC2 mRNA as well as a reduction in pS940 KCC2 protein. The impaired GABAA-mediated inhibition in AT1a knockdown neurons was recovered by bath application of phospholipase C and protein kinase C activators. The following study indicates that AT1a receptor activation mediates the excitability of MnPO neurons, in part, through the regulation of KCC2. The regulation of KCC2 influences the intracellular [Cl] and the subsequent efficacy of GABAA-mediated currents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R972-R982
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • Angiotensin
  • KCC2
  • Median preoptic nucleus
  • ShRNA


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