Chapter 16. Measuring and Modeling the Spatiotemporal Profile of GABA at the Synapse

  1. Michael W. Quick Ph.D.
  1. Linda S. Overstreet1,
  2. Gary L. Westbrook2 and
  3. Mathew V. Jones3

Published Online: 19 MAR 2003

DOI: 10.1002/0471434043.ch16

Transmembrane Transporters

Transmembrane Transporters

How to Cite

Overstreet, L. S., Westbrook, G. L. and Jones, M. V. (2002) Measuring and Modeling the Spatiotemporal Profile of GABA at the Synapse, in Transmembrane Transporters (ed M. W. Quick), John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, USA. doi: 10.1002/0471434043.ch16

Editor Information

  1. Department of Neurobiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, Birmingham, AL, USA

Author Information

  1. 1

    The Vollum Institute, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, OR, USA

  2. 2

    The Vollum Institute and Department of Neurology, Oregon Health Sciences University, Portland, OR, USA

  3. 3

    Department of Physiology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 19 MAR 2003
  2. Published Print: 23 AUG 2002

Book Series:

  1. Receptor Biochemistry and Methodology

Book Series Editors:

  1. David R. Sibley

Series Editor Information

  1. Molecular Neuropharmacology Section, Experimental Therapeutics Branch, NINDS, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780471065135

Online ISBN: 9780471434047



  • GABA;
  • synapse;
  • hippocampus;
  • diffusion;
  • uptake;
  • crosstalk;
  • spillover;
  • Monte Carlo;
  • kinetics;
  • modeling


The diffusion and transport of neurotransmitter molecules occurs on a time scale of microseconds to milliseconds, and over a length scale of nanometers to microns. These dimensions preclude direct measurement of the spatiotemporal profile of transmitter in the immediate vicinity of the synaptic cleft by conventional means. However, it is possible to use the synaptic receptor/ion channels themselves as local sensors for the transmitter. Here, we describe experimental measurements of the concentration and time course of GABA in the synaptic cleft, and use the values obtained to constrain a quantitative model of GABA diffusion, uptake and crosstalk between synapses.