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Neuroscience. 1999 Mar;89(1):109-25.

Excitatory amino acid responses in relay neurons of the rat lateral geniculate nucleus.

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Department of Physiology, Kyushu University Faculty of Medicine, Fukuoka, Japan.


Responses to glutamate receptor agonists were recorded from identified relay neurons in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus of the rat, using the nystatin-perforated patch-clamp technique. Rapid application of glutamate, N-methyl-D-aspartate, (RS)-alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionate (AMPA) and kainate induced inward currents at a holding potential of -44 mV. The responses to low concentrations of each agonist were composed only of steady-state currents, but the responses to high concentrations were additionally composed of a rapid transient peak component except in the kainate-induced current. The currents induced by 10(-3)M N-methyl-D-aspartate in the external solution containing 0 mM Mg2+ and 10(-6)M glycine were reduced in amplitude when the external solution contained 1 mM Mg2+, and were abolished when the solution contained no glycine. The currents induced by a neurotransmitter candidate at retinogeniculate synapses, N-acetyl-aspartyl-glutamate, were markedly reduced in amplitude when the solution contained 1 mM Mg2+ or 10(-4)M DL-2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid. The current abolished in the Mg2+-containing, glycine-free solution (N-methyl-D-aspartate component) and the current remaining in the same solution (non-N-methyl-D-aspartate component) of the N-acetyl-aspartyl-glutamate response were both increased in a concentration-dependent manner, as the N-acetyl-aspartyl-glutamate concentration was increased. The current-voltage relationship of the currents induced by N-methyl-D-aspartate and N-acetyl-aspartyl-glutamate was characterized by Mg2+-dependent block at hyperpolarized potentials. The inward currents induced by 3 x 10(-4)M AMPA and 3 x 10(-4)M glutamate were markedly potentiated by 10(-4)M cyclothiazide, but the currents induced by 3 x 10(-4)M kainate and 10(-3)M N-acetyl-aspartyl-glutamate (non-N-methyl-D-aspartate component) were little affected. The currents induced by any agonist were not affected by 3 x 10(-4)g/ml concanavalin A. The current induced by 10(-4)M kainate was markedly suppressed by pretreatment with 10(-4)M AMPA or 10(-4)M glutamate, but only weakly by 10(-3)M N-acetyl-aspartylglutamate. The Ca2+ permeability (PCa/PCs) of the N-methyl-D-aspartate and non-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors was 9.57 and 0.16, respectively. These results suggest that dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus relay neurons of the rat possessed both Ca2+-permeable N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors and less permeable non-N-methyl-D-aspartate (presumably AMPA) receptors, and that N-acetyl-aspartyl-glutamate mainly acts at N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors with a weak kainate-like action on non-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors.

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