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<p class="first" id="P3">The purpose of the present study was to characterize the
properties of GABA
<sub>A</sub> receptor currents in human sensory neurons. Neurons were obtained from
<sub>A</sub> currents were recorded in isolated neurons. Both large inactivating low
currents and smaller persistent high affinity currents were present in all of the
129 neurons studied from 15 donors. The kinetics of human GABA
<sub>A</sub> currents were slower than those in rat sensory neurons. GABA currents
blocked by bicuculline (10 µM), and persistent currents were activated by the δ-subunit
preferring agonist, THIP. The GABA current equilibrium potential was ~20 mV more hyperpolarized
than in rat neurons. Both low and high affinity currents were increased by inflammatory
mediators but via different second messenger pathways. These results highlight potentially
important species differences in the properties of ion channels present in their native
environment and suggest the use of human sensory neurons may be a valuable tool to
test compounds prior to use in humans.