GAA as GABA mimetic

GAA as GABA mimetic

Impairment of excretion and enzymatic processing of nitrogen, e.g. due to liver or kidney failure, or with urea cycle and creatine synthesis enzyme defects, surprisingly leads to primarily neurologic symptoms, yet the exact mechanisms remain largely mysterious. In guanidinoacetate N-methyltransferase (GAMT) deficiency, the guanidino compound guanidinoacetate (GAA) increases dramatically, including in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and has been implicated in mediating the neurological symptoms in GAMT-deficient patients. GAA is synthesized by arginine-glycine amidinotransferase (AGAT), a promiscuous enzyme that not only transfers the amidino group from arginine to glycine, but also to primary amines in e.g., GABA and taurine to generate γ-guanidinobutyric acid (γ-GBA) and guanidinoethanesulfonic acid (GES), respectively. We show that GAA, γ-GBA and GES share structural similarities with GABA, evoke GABAA receptor (GABAA R) mediated currents (whereas creatine [methylated GAA] and arginine failed to evoke discernible currents) in cerebellar granule cells in mouse brain slices and displace the high-affinity GABA-site radioligand [3 H]muscimol in total brain homogenate GABAA Rs. While γ-GBA and GES are GABA agonists and displace [3 H]muscimol (EC50 /IC50 between 10 and 40 μM), GAA stands out as particularly potent in both activating GABAA Rs (EC50 ~6 μM) and also displacing the GABAA R ligand [3 H]muscimol (IC50 ~3 μM) at pathophysiologically relevant concentrations. These findings stress the role of substantially elevated GAA as a primary neurotoxic agent in GAMT deficiency and we discuss the potential role of GAA in arginase (and creatine transporter) deficiency which show a much more modest increase in GAA concentrations yet share the unique hyperexcitability neuropathology with GAMT deficiency. We conclude that orthosteric activation of GABAA Rs by GAA, and potentially other GABAA R mimetic guanidino compounds (GCs) like γ-GBA and GES, interferes with normal inhibitory GABAergic neurotransmission which could mediate, and contribute to, neurotoxicity.

Pratap M, Uusi-Oukari M, Wallner M, Lipshutz GS. Guanidinoacetate (GAA) Is a Potent GABAA Receptor GABA Mimetic: Implications for Neurological Disease Pathology. J Neurochem. 2023 Feb 1. doi: 10.1111/jnc.15774.

Categories: Pathophysiology

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