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Brain Res. 1991 Nov 22;565(1):78-84.

Cyclic AMP modulates sensory-neural communication at the vestibular end organ.

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Department of Otolaryngology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70112.


Adenosine 3':5'-cyclic phosphate (cAMP) is a second messenger that plays an important role in mediating neuronal interactions in many systems. A possible role for cAMP in sensorineural communication at the vestibular end organ was studied. The putative roles for cAMP action investigated here were: the ability of cAMP to act as the second messenger for the efferent transmitter, acetylcholine, and the possible involvement of cAMP in modulating spontaneous or mechanically-evoked afferent nerve firing. Levels of cAMP were increased pharmacologically with forskolin, 3-isobutyl-1-methyl xanthine (IBMX) and dibutyryl cAMP. Changes in multiunit afferent nerve firing measured from the ampullar nerve of the semicircular canal, and the transepithelial potential measured across the neuroepithelium of the semicircular canal were recorded. At selected doses, all drugs produced a similar increase in spontaneous multiunit afferent nerve firing with a concomitant decrease in the transepithelial potential. Mechanically-evoked hair cell activity and the response to exogenously applied acetylcholine were unaffected by these drugs. We are suggesting that the excitatory aspects of the acetylcholine response are not mediated via a cAMP-dependent mechanism. However, cAMP does play an important role in modulating spontaneous afferent nerve firing in the semicircular canal. The finding that spontaneous afferent nerve firing can be biochemically modulated without altering mechanically-induced afferent firing is novel and deserves further investigation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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