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Neuroscience. 2006 Dec 28;143(4):1085-94. Epub 2006 Oct 4.

Neuropeptide Y regulates recurrent mossy fiber synaptic transmission less effectively in mice than in rats: Correlation with Y2 receptor plasticity.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology, Duke University Medical Center, PO Box 3813, 100B Research Park 2, Research Drive, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


A unique feature of temporal lobe epilepsy is the formation of recurrent excitatory connections among granule cells of the dentate gyrus as a result of mossy fiber sprouting. This novel circuit contributes to a reduced threshold for granule cell synchronization. In the rat, activity of the recurrent mossy fiber pathway is restrained by the neoexpression and spontaneous release of neuropeptide Y (NPY). NPY inhibits glutamate release tonically through activation of presynaptic Y2 receptors. In the present study, the effects of endogenous and applied NPY were investigated in C57Bl/6 mice that had experienced pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus and subsequently developed a robust recurrent mossy fiber pathway. Whole cell patch clamp recordings made from dentate granule cells in hippocampal slices demonstrated that, as in rats, applied NPY inhibits recurrent mossy fiber synaptic transmission, the Y2 receptor antagonist (S)-N2-[[1-[2-[4-[(R,S)-5,11-dihydro-6(6H)-oxodibenz[b,e]azepin-11-yl]-1-piperazinyl]-2-oxoethyl]cyclopentyl]acetyl]-N-[2-[1,2-dihydro-3,5(4H)-dioxo-1,2-diphenyl-3H-1,2,4-triazol-4-yl]ethyl]-argininamide (BIIE0246) blocks its action and BIIE0246 enhances synaptic transmission when applied by itself. Y5 receptor agonists had no significant effect. Thus spontaneous release of NPY tonically inhibits synaptic transmission in mice and its effects are mediated by Y2 receptor activation. However, both NPY and BIIE0246 were much less effective in mice than in rats, despite apparently equivalent expression of NPY in the recurrent mossy fibers. Immunohistochemistry indicated greater expression of Y2 receptors in the mossy fiber pathway of normal mice than of normal rats. Pilocarpine-induced status epilepticus markedly reduced the immunoreactivity of mouse mossy fibers, but increased the immunoreactivity of rat mossy fibers. Mossy fiber growth into the inner portion of the dentate molecular layer was associated with increased Y2 receptor immunoreactivity in rat, but not in mouse. These contrasting receptor changes can explain the quantitatively different effects of endogenously released and applied NPY on recurrent mossy fiber transmission in mice and rats.

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