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Eur J Neurosci. 2001 Oct;14(8):1313-9.

mGlu1 receptors mediate a post-tetanic depression at parallel fibre-Purkinje cell synapses in rat cerebellum.

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The Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom.


Metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptors are located pre- and postsynaptically at central synapses. Activation of the receptors by exogenous agonists usually results in a reversible depression of fast glutamatergic neurotransmission. Evidence that synaptically released glutamate has such an action, however, is scarce. Sharp microelectrode recordings were used to investigate the modulatory role of mGlu receptors at a well-studied glutamatergic synapse, the one between parallel fibres and Purkinje cells in rat cerebellar slices. Brief, tetanic stimulation of the parallel fibres caused a depression of subsequent fast EPSPs. This post-tetanic depression (PTD) reached its maximum 4.5 s after the tetanus. Measured at this point, PTD was frequency-dependent; 10 stimuli at 20 Hz produced no significant depression, whereas, at 100 Hz the same number of stimuli was maximally effective (approximately 50% depression). The nonselective mGlu antagonist, (S)-alpha-methyl-4-carboxyphenylglycine 1 mm or the GABAB antagonist, CGP35348 (1 mm), both decreased the magnitude of the PTD. In the presence of CGP35348 the mGlu1 antagonist, 7-hydroxyiminocyclopropan[b]chromen-1a-carboxylic acid ethyl ester (300 microm), inhibited PTD further. A group II/III mGlu antagonist had no effect. These observations indicate that synaptically activated mGlu1 receptors not only generate a slow EPSP and induce Ca2+ mobilization in Purkinje cells, as reported previously, but also produce a transient depression of fast synaptic transmission. This short-term plasticity may be important for shaping the output of cerebellar circuits and/or it could provide a substrate for long-term depression when additional mechanisms are superimposed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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