Influence of glutamate and GABA transport on brain excitatory/inhibitory balance

Sheila M.S. Sears, Sandra J. Hewett

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


An optimally functional brain requires both excitatory and inhibitory inputs that are regulated and balanced. A perturbation in the excitatory/inhibitory balance—as is the case in some neurological disorders/diseases (e.g. traumatic brain injury Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, epilepsy and substance abuse) and disorders of development (e.g. schizophrenia, Rhett syndrome and autism spectrum disorder)—leads to dysfunctional signaling, which can result in impaired cognitive and motor function, if not frank neuronal injury. At the cellular level, transmission of glutamate and GABA, the principle excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters in the central nervous system control excitatory/inhibitory balance. Herein, we review the synthesis, release, and signaling of GABA and glutamate followed by a focused discussion on the importance of their transport systems to the maintenance of excitatory/inhibitory balance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1069-1083
Number of pages15
JournalExperimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 2021


  • EAATs
  • Excitatory/inhibitory balance
  • GABA transport
  • GATs
  • glutamate transport
  • system x

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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