The GABA-A receptor has been strongly implicated in the organization and function of cortical sensory circuits in the adult mammal. In the present work, changes in the expression patterns of select GABA-A subunits were examined as a function of development. The RNA expression profiles for three subunit types were studied, a1, β2/3 and d at four developmental time points, (p0, p15, p30 and p90). The a1, β2/3 subunits were present at birth and following a modest increase early in life; mRNA expression for these subunits were found at stable levels throughout life. The expression pattern for the d subunit showed the most dramatic changes in the number of positive cells as a function of age. In early life, p0 through p15 expression of mRNA for the d subunit was quite low but increased in later life, p30 and p90. Together these data suggest that much of the potential for inhibitory connectivity is laid down in the pre and early post-natal periods.
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