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J Neurophysiol. 2000 Jul;84(1):75-87.

Dopamine D1/D5 receptor activation modulates a persistent sodium current in rat prefrontal cortical neurons in vitro.

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Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada.


The effects of dopamine (DA) on a persistent Na(+) current (I(NaP)) in layer V-VI prefrontal cortical (PFC) pyramidal cells were studied using whole cell voltage-clamp recordings in rat PFC slices. After blocking K(+) and Ca (2+) currents, a tetrodotoxin-sensitive I(NaP) was activated by slow depolarizing voltage ramps or voltage steps. DA modulated the I(NaP) in a voltage-dependent manner: increased amplitude of I(NaP) at potentials more negative than -40 mV, but decreased at more positive potentials. DA also slowed the inactivation process of I(NaP). The D1/D5 dopamine receptor agonists SKF 38393, SKF 81297, and dihydrexidine (3-10 microM), but not the dopamine D2/D3 receptor agonist qiunpirole (1-20 microM), mimicked the effects of DA on I(NaP). Modulation of I(NaP) by D1/D5 agonists was blocked by the D1/D5 antagonist SCH23390. Bath application of specific protein kinase C inhibitor, chelerhythrine, or inclusion of the specific protein kinase C inhibiting peptide([19-36]) in the recording pipette, but not protein kinase A inhibiting peptide([5-24]), blocked the effect of D1/D5 agonists on I(NaP). In current-clamp recordings, D1/D5 receptors activation enhanced the excitability of cortical pyramidal cells. Application of the D1/D5 agonist SKF 81297 induced a long-lasting decrease in the first spike latency in response to depolarizing current ramp. This was associated with a shift in the start of nonlinearity in the slope resistance to more negative membrane potentials. We proposed that this effect is due to a D1/D5 agonist-induced leftward shift in the activation of I(NaP). This enables DA to facilitate the firing of PFC neurons in response to depolarizing inputs.

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