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J Neurosci. 2018 Oct 3;38(40):8515-8525. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0569-18.2018. Epub 2018 Aug 14.

Cholecystokinin Switches the Plasticity of GABA Synapses in the Dorsomedial Hypothalamus via Astrocytic ATP Release.

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Hotchkiss Brain Institute.
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta T2N 4N1, Canada, and.
Biology Department, Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick E4L 1G7, Canada.
Hotchkiss Brain Institute,


Whether synapses in appetite-regulatory brain regions undergo long-term changes in strength in response to satiety peptides is poorly understood. Here we show that following bursts of afferent activity, the neuromodulator and satiety peptide cholecystokinin (CCK) shifts the plasticity of GABA synapses in the dorsomedial nucleus of the hypothalamus of male Sprague Dawley rats from long-term depression to long-term potentiation (LTP). This LTP requires the activation of both type 2 CCK receptors and group 5 metabotropic glutamate receptors, resulting in a rise in astrocytic intracellular calcium and subsequent ATP release. ATP then acts on presynaptic P2X receptors to trigger a prolonged increase in GABA release. Our observations demonstrate a novel form of CCK-mediated plasticity that requires astrocytic ATP release, and could serve as a mechanism for appetite regulation.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Satiety peptides, like cholecystokinin, play an important role in the central regulation of appetite, but their effect on synaptic plasticity is not well understood. The current data provide novel evidence that cholecystokinin shifts the plasticity from long-term depression to long-term potentiation at GABA synapses in the rat dorsomedial nucleus of the hypothalamus. We also demonstrate that this plasticity requires the concerted action of cholecystokinin and glutamate on astrocytes, triggering the release of the gliotransmitter ATP, which subsequently increases GABA release from neighboring inhibitory terminals. This research reveals a novel neuropeptide-induced switch in the direction of synaptic plasticity that requires astrocytes, and could represent a new mechanism by which cholecystokinin regulates appetite.


ATP; GABA; appetite; astrocytes; cholecystokinin; dorsomedial hypothalamus

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