Send to

Choose Destination
J Physiol. 2012 Aug 15;590(16):3891-911. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2011.227157. Epub 2012 May 28.

Rapid dopaminergic and GABAergic modulation of calcium and voltage transients in dendrites of prefrontal cortex pyramidal neurons.

Author information

UConn Health Center, Neuroscience, Rm E-3038, 263 Farmington Avenue, Farmington, CT 06030-3401, USA.


The physiological responses of dendrites to dopaminergic inputs are poorly understood and controversial. We applied dopamine on one dendritic branch while simultaneously monitoring action potentials (APs) from multiple dendrites using either calcium-sensitive dye, voltage-sensitive dye or both. Dopaminergic suppression of dendritic calcium transients was rapid (<0.5 s) and restricted to the site of dopamine application. Voltage waveforms of backpropagating APs were minimally altered in the same dendrites where dopamine was confirmed to cause large suppression of calcium signals, as determined by dual voltage and calcium imaging. The dopamine effects on dendritic calcium transients were fully mimicked by D1 agonists, partially reduced by D1 antagonist and completely insensitive to protein kinase blockade; consistent with a membrane delimited mechanism. This dopamine effect was unaltered in the presence of L-, R- and T-type calcium channel blockers. The somatic excitability (i.e. AP firing) was not affected by strong dopaminergic stimulation of dendrites. Dopamine and GABA were then sequentially applied on the same dendrite. In contrast to dopamine, the pulses of GABA prohibited AP backpropagation distally from the application site, even in neurons with natural Cl− concentration (patch pipette removed). Thus, the neocortex employs at least two distinct mechanisms (dopamine and GABA) for rapid modulation of dendritic calcium influx. The spatio-temporal pattern of dendritic calcium suppression described in this paper is expected to occur during phasic dopaminergic signalling, when midbrain dopaminergic neurons generate a transient (0.5 s) burst of APs in response to a salient event.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center