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Neuroscience. 1987 Nov;23(2):447-56.

Peroxide alters neuronal excitability in the CA1 region of guinea-pig hippocampus in vitro.

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Physiology Department, Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, Bethesda, MD 20814-5145.


Effects of peroxidative damage on neuronal excitability were investigated with electrophysiological techniques in CA1 pyramidal cells of the hippocampal slice preparation. Hydrogen peroxide alone or combined with ferrous ions (peroxide/iron) is likely to produce hydroxyl free radicals through the Fenton reaction. Intracellularly recorded excitatory postsynaptic potentials and inhibitory postsynaptic potentials were significantly reduced by exposure to peroxide, while responses to iontophoretically applied GABA and glutamate were unaffected. These results suggest that peroxide has presynaptic actions. Peroxide and peroxide/iron also increased frequency adaptation; after exposure, neurons fired fewer action potentials at a lower frequency in response to the same depolarizing current step. A voltage clamp analysis revealed that the potassium currents were unaffected by peroxide/iron. Calcium current was not obviously altered by exposure to peroxide. Sodium spike threshold was also unaffected. Calcium spike threshold was significantly increased by peroxide. This action of peroxide may underlie its presynaptic actions. It is concluded that peroxide produces both presynaptic and postsynaptic damage. This damage is likely to result from the production of free radicals which have been postulated to underlie a number of pathological states.

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