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Neuropharmacology. 2016 Jun;105:258-269. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2016.01.026. Epub 2016 Jan 22.

D2 dopamine receptors modulate neuronal resonance in subthalamic nucleus and cortical high-voltage spindles through HCN channels.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Tangdu Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, 710038, PR China.
Department of Neurosurgery, Xijing Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, 710032, PR China.
Department of Neurology, Anning Branch of Lanzhou General Hospital of Lanzhou Military Region, Lanzhou, 730070, PR China; Department of Neurology, Tangdu Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, 710038, PR China.
Department of Neurosurgery, Tangdu Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi'an, 710038, PR China. Electronic address:
Department of Neurobiology and Collaborative Innovation Center for Brain Science, Institute of Neuroscience, Fourth Military Medical University, No. 169 Changle West Road, Xi'an, 710032, PR China. Electronic address:


The high-voltage spindles (HVSs), one of the characteristic oscillations that include theta frequencies in the basal ganglia (BG)-cortical system, are involved in immobile behavior and show increasing power in Parkinson's disease (PD). Our previous results suggested that the D2 dopamine receptor might be involved in HVSs modulations in a rat model of PD. Membrane resonance is one of the cellular mechanisms of network oscillation; therefore, we investigated how dopamine modulates the theta frequency membrane resonance of neurons in the subthalamic nucleus (STN), a central pacemaker of BG, and whether such changes in STN neurons subsequently alter HVSs in the BG-cortical system. In particular, we tested whether dopamine modulates HVSs through hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channels-dependent membrane resonance in STN neurons. We found that an antagonist of D2 receptors, but not of D1 receptors, inhibited membrane resonance and HCN currents of STN neurons through a G-protein activity in acute brain slices. Our further in vivo experiments using local injection of a D2 receptor antagonist or an HCN blocker in STNs of free-moving rats showed an increase in HVSs power and correlation in the BG-cortical system. Local injection of lamotrigine, an HCN agonist, counteracted the effect induced by the D2 antagonist. Taken together, our results revealed a potential cellular mechanism underlying HVSs activity modulation in the BG-cortical system, i.e. tuning HCN activities in STN neurons through dopamine D2 receptors. Our findings might lead to a new direction in PD treatment by providing promising new drug targets for HVSs activity modulation.


Dopamine; High-voltage spindles; Hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated channels; Membrane resonance; Parkinson's disease; Subthalamic nucleus

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