Glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) are the major neurotransmitters in the mammalian brain. Inhibitory GABA and excitatory glutamate work together to control many processes, including the brain’s overall level of excitation. The contributions of GABA and glutamate in extra-neuronal signaling are by far less widely recognized. In this chapter, we first discuss the role of both neurotransmitters during development, emphasizing the importance of the shift from excitatory to inhibitory GABAergic neurotransmission. The second part summarizes the biosynthesis and role of GABA and glutamate in neurotransmission in the mature brain, and major neurological disorders associated with glutamate and GABA receptors and GABA release mechanisms. The final part focuses on extra-neuronal glutamatergic and GABAergic signaling in pancreatic islets of Langerhans, and possible associations with type 1 diabetes mellitus.
Part of the book: GABA And Glutamate