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Neuron. 2001 Nov 8;32(3):477-88.

Direct presynaptic regulation of GABA/glycine release by kainate receptors in the dorsal horn: an ionotropic mechanism.

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Washington University Pain Center and Department of Anesthesiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


In the spinal cord dorsal horn, excitatory sensory fibers terminate adjacent to interneuron terminals. Here, we show that kainate (KA) receptor activation triggered action potential-independent release of GABA and glycine from dorsal horn interneurons. This release was transient, because KA receptors desensitized, and it required Na+ entry and Ca2+ channel activation. KA modulated evoked inhibitory transmission in a dose-dependent, biphasic manner, with suppression being more prominent. In recordings from isolated neuron pairs, this suppression required GABA(B) receptor activation, suggesting that KA-triggered GABA release activated presynaptic GABA(B) autoreceptors. Finally, glutamate released from sensory fibers caused a KA and GABA(B) receptor-dependent suppression of inhibitory transmission in spinal slices. Thus, we show how presynaptic KA receptors are linked to changes in GABA/glycine release and highlight a novel role for these receptors in regulating sensory transmission.

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