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Brain Res. 2009 Jul 28;1282:10-9. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2009.05.061. Epub 2009 Jun 2.

Cholecystokinin action on layer 6b neurons in somatosensory cortex.

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Neuroscience Program, Beckman Institute, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.


Layer 6b in neocortex is a distinct sublamina at the ventral portion of layer 6. Corticothalamic projections arise from 6b neurons, but few studies have examined the functional properties of these cells. In the present study we examined the actions of cholecystokinin (CCK) on layer 6b neocortical neurons using whole-cell patch clamp recording techniques. We found that the general CCK receptor agonist CCK8S (sulfated CCK octapeptide) strongly depolarized the neurons, and this action persisted in the presence of tetrodotoxin, suggesting a postsynaptic site of action. The excitatory actions of CCK8S were mimicked by the selective CCK(B) receptor agonist CCK4, and attenuated by the selective CCK(B) receptor antagonist L365260, indicating a role for CCK(B) receptors. Voltage-clamp recordings revealed that CCK8S produced a slow inward current associated with a decreased conductance with a reversal potential near the K(+) equilibrium potential. In addition, intracellular cesium also blocked the inward current, suggesting the involvement of a K(+) conductance, likely K(leak). Our data indicate that CCK, acting via CCK(B) receptors, produces a long-lasting excitation of layer 6b neocortical neurons, and this action may play a critical role in modulation of corticothalamic circuit activity.

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