Gabazine binds to the GABA recognition site of the receptor-channel complex and acts as an allosteric inhibitor of channel opening. The net effect is to reduce GABA-mediated synaptic inhibition by inhibiting chloride flux across the cell membrane, and thus inhibiting neuronal hyperpolarization. While phasic (synaptic) inhibition is gabazine-sensitive, tonic (extrasynaptic) inhibition is relatively gabazine-insensitive.
Gabazine has been found to bind to and antagonize α4βδ subunit-containing GABAA receptors, which may represent the GHB receptor.
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