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J Neurosci. 2003 Mar 15;23(6):2032-9.

GABA(B) receptors inhibit dendrodendritic transmission in the rat olfactory bulb.

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Department of Neuroscience, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0608, USA.


In the mammalian olfactory bulb, mitral cell dendrites release glutamate onto the dendritic spines of granule cells, which in turn release GABA back onto mitral dendrites. This local synaptic circuit forms the basis for reciprocal dendrodendritic inhibition mediated by ionotropic GABA(A) receptors in mitral cells. Surprisingly little is known about neurotransmitter modulation of dendrodendritic signaling in the olfactory bulb. In this study, we examine whether metabotropic GABA(B) receptors modulate dendrodendritic signaling between mitral and granule cells. We find that the selective GABA(B) agonist baclofen reduces mitral cell recurrent inhibition mediated by dendrodendritic synapses. GABA(B) receptor activation causes only a weak inhibition of field EPSCs in the external plexiform layer and only slightly reduces glutamate-mediated mitral cell self-excitation. Although GABA(B) receptors depress mitral cell glutamate release only weakly, baclofen causes a marked reduction in the amplitude of granule-cell-evoked, GABA(A)-mediated IPSCs in mitral cells. In addition to reducing the amplitude of granule-cell-evoked IPSCs, baclofen causes a change from paired-pulse depression to paired-pulse facilitation, suggesting that GABA(B) receptors modulate GABA release from granule cells. To explore the mechanism of action of GABA(B) receptors further, we show that baclofen inhibits high-voltage-activated calcium currents in granule cells. Together, these findings suggest that GABA(B) receptors modulate dendrodendritic inhibition primarily by inhibiting granule cell calcium channels and reducing the release of GABA. Furthermore, we show that endogenous GABA regulates the strength of dendrodendritic inhibition via the activation of GABA(B) autoreceptors.

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