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Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1987 Mar;65(3):385-94.

Barbiturate effects on hippocampal excitatory synaptic responses are selective and pathway specific.


Barbiturate actions on excitatory synaptic responses in CA 1 and dentate regions of hippocampal slices were studied to determine whether different effects occur on anatomically distinct synaptic pathways. Pentobarbital facilitated transmission between stratum radiatum inputs and CA 1 neurons at low concentrations (0.02-0.08 mM) and produced postsynaptic depression at higher concentrations. Only depression was observed for stratum oriens inputs to CA 1 and perforant path inputs to dentate granulae neurons. The (+) isomer of pentobarbital was approximately four times more potent than the (-) isomer of racemic mixture. Phenobarbital (0.04-0.12 mM) produced only depression of synaptic responses in CA 1 and dentate pathways. Comparison of effect on field excitatory postsynaptic potentials and population spike responses indicated that the barbiturates act at selective and pathway-specific sites. The results provide further evidence for specific cellular and membrane recognition sites for barbiturate action.

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