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Synapse. 1997 Feb;25(2):215-26.

Inhibition of dopamine re-uptake: significance for nigral dopamine neuron activity.

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  • 1Karolinska Institute, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Stockholm, Sweden.


In the present study the effect of inhibition of the re-uptake of dopamine (DA) was analysed with respect to DA release and to the firing pattern of DA neurons in the substantia nigra (SN). Intravenous administration of GBR 12909 (0.5-8 mg/kg), a specific and potent inhibitor of DA re-uptake, was found to dose-dependently increase the DA concentration both in the SN and in the striatum, as measured by microdialysis. However, the drug failed to significantly affect the firing rate of the nigral DA neurons. In contrast, GBR 12909 dose-dependently induced a regularisation of the firing pattern, concomitant with a reduction in burst activity. An acute hemisection of the brain, which by itself produced a slight regularisation of the firing pattern of the nigral DA neurons without changing the firing rate of the ability of the DA neurons to fire in bursts, was found to prevent the regulatory action of GBR 12909. Pretreatment with the selective GABAB-receptor antagonist CGP 35348 (200 mg/kg, i.v., 5 min) did not significantly affect the firing rate, the regularity of the DA neurons, or their ability to fire in bursts. However, CGP 35348 markedly antagonised the ability of GBR 12909 to induce pacemaker-like firing or a decrease in burst activity of the nigral DA neurons. The results of the present study suggest that a striatonigral feedback projection may serve to control the activity of nigral DA neurons not primarily by regulating the firing rate, but, preferably, by modulating the firing pattern of the neurons. In this regard, activation of somatodendritic GABAB-receptors may form the final link in this feedback inhibitory control system.

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