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Exp Brain Res. 1991;84(3):620-30.

Dorsal raphé stimulation modifies striatal-evoked antidromic invasion of nigral dopaminergic neurons in vivo.

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Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers, State University of New Jersey, Newark 07102.


Extracellular single unit recordings were obtained from antidromically identified nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons in anesthetized rats to determine the effects of dorsal raphé stimulation on the somatodendritic excitability of substantia nigra dopaminergic neurons. Stimulation of the dorsal raphé with a brief train of pulses delivered 7-2 ms prior to the neostriatal-evoked antidromic response significantly reduced the proportion of neostriatal-evoked antidromic responses that consisted of both initial segment and somatodendritic components without significantly altering the neostriatal-evoked post-stimulus inhibitory period. Raphé stimulation alone facilitated post-stimulus neuronal firing in almost half of the cells examined. The raphé-induced decrease in somatodendritic excitability was blocked by the serotonin antagonist, metergoline (0.5-2.0 mg/kg, i.v.), without significantly affecting the rate or pattern of spontaneous activity. The tryptophan hydroxylase inhibitor, parachlorophenylalanine (400 mg/kg, i.p. for three consecutive days), abolished the decrease in somatodendritic excitability following raphé stimulation which could be re-instated by intravenous administration of 5-HTP. The dopamine antagonists haloperidol (25-100 micrograms/kg, i.v.) and sulpiride (10-30 mg/kg, i.v.) also blocked the effects of dorsal raphé stimulation on somatodendritic invasion. These data suggest that in vivo, serotonin liberated from raphé-nigral terminals facilitates the release of dopamine from nigrostriatal dendrites resulting in a local, autoreceptor-mediated reduction in somatodendritic excitability without affecting the spontaneous firing rate and excitability of the neuron as a whole.

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