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Antibodies to neurotransmitters as tools to evaluate the transmission network/function by immunofluorescence

Spotlight on GABA-glutamate system throwdown!


Glutamate (Glu) and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) are the major neurotransmitters (NTs) in the brain. Being respectively the most common excitatory and the chief inhibitory NTs, Glu and GABA work together through balanced interactions to control many processes, e.g. the overall brain excitation level, and thus maintain homeostasis. However, while prolonged imbalance in glutamatergic and/or GABAergic signaling transmissions is often associated to diseases, such as autism spectrum disorders, neuropsychiatric and mood disorders, and schizophrenia, NT levels can also be affected by external factors and by autoimmunity and genetic disorders. In those diseased conditions, intracellular contents of Glu and GABA as well as their anatomical and functional network are found impaired. Therefore, evaluating anatomo-phenotypic and functional Glu and GABA transmission is critical to address these networks, and thus requires appropriate experimental tools.

To this end, we thus developed and validated antibodies directed against Glu (#IS1001, polyclonal) and GABA (#IS039, monoclonal, and #IS1006, polyclonal). While allowing for the selective immunocytochemical visualization of the putative glutamatergic and GABAergic system networks, our antibodies are perfectly suitable to evaluate these NT-related networks / functions.

Figure 1: GABAergic neuronal network in a mature rat cortical culture revealed through GABA immunoreactivity detection using either our mouse monoclonal GABA antibody (#IS039) in green or rabbit polyclonal GABA antibody (#IS1006) in red, with the STAINperfect immunostaining kit A. GABAergic network is identically revealed by both antibodies (yellow on the overlay) which evidence the cortical GABAergic neurons as well as their rich and dense neuritic extensions.

Figure 2: GABAergic network and glutamatergic cell populations in a mature rat cortical culture revealed by GABA and Glu immunoreactivity detection using mouse monoclonal (#IS039) and rabbit polyclonal (#IS1001) antibodies, respectively, with the STAINperfect immunostaining kit A.

As expected, immunostainings reveal a rich cortical GABAergic system (cell bodies and branches – displaying a punctiform profile) in addition to the glutamate-positive cell population. While GABA neurons are also glutamate-positive (white arrows), arrowheads point glutamate-positive GABA-negative cells, which can be either astrocytes or glutamatergic neurons.