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Neuropharmacology. 2004 Mar;46(4):497-503.

Activation of dopamine D4 receptors modulates [3H]GABA release in slices of the rat thalamic reticular nucleus.

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  • 1Departamento de Fisiología, Biofísica y Neurociencias, Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del IPN, Av. IPN 2508 San Pedro Zacatenco, Apartado Postal 14-740, 07360, México city, Mexico.


The thalamic reticular nucleus (nRt) is innervated by dopaminergic projections from the sustantia nigra compacta (SNc) and is rich in dopamine D4 receptors, however, the functional effects of dopamine on this structure are unknown. We examined whether the D1 receptor agonist SKF 38393, or the D2 class receptor agonist quinpirole, modify depolarization evoked Ca(2+)-dependent [3H]GABA release. SKF 38393 was without effects, whereas quinpirole inhibited [3H]GABA release with an IC50 of 81 +/- 33 nM. Dose-dependence determinations of agonists (quinpirole and PD 168, 077) and antagonists (L-745,870, U-101958, clozapine and raclopride) with different affinities for different D2 class subtype receptors showed that a D4 receptor mediates quinpirole inhibition. We used methylphenidate, an agent that acts by increasing interstitial dopamine, to determine whether endogenous dopamine modulates [3H]GABA release. Methylphenidate inhibited [3H]GABA release showing that the nRt contains sufficient endogenous dopamine to activate D4 receptors. This inhibition was completely reversed by selectively blocking D4 receptors with L-745,870 or U-101958 indicating that the catecholamine receptors that modulate GABA release are D4 receptors. Given the importance of the nRt in the control of attention, sensory processing and the generation of rhythmic activity during slow wave sleep, it is possible that abnormal nRt function may generate some of the manifestations of the disorders of dopaminergic transmission.

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