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J Neurosci. 1987 Mar;7(3):733-41.

Voltage clamp analysis of cholinergic action in the hippocampus.


A slow muscarinic EPSP, accompanied by an increase in membrane input resistance, can be elicited in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal cells in vitro by electrical stimulation of cholinergic afferents in the slice preparation. Associated with the slow EPSP is a blockade of calcium-activated potassium afterhyperpolarizations (AHPs) (Cole and Nicoll, 1984a). In this study a single-electrode voltage clamp was used to examine the currents affected by activation of muscarinic receptors, using either bath application of carbachol or electrical stimulation of the cholinergic afferents. The 3 main findings of this study are that (1) of the 2 calcium-activated potassium currents (termed IAHP and IC) in hippocampal pyramidal cells, only IAHP is sensitive to carbachol; (2) IAHP is approximately 10-fold more sensitive to carbachol than is another muscarine-sensitive current, IM; and (3) neither blockade of IAHP nor of IM can account for the production of the slow EPSP. Rather, the slow EPSP appears to be generated by the blockade of a nonvoltage-dependent, resting potassium current. We propose that the muscarinic blockade of IAHP, which largely accounts for spike frequency adaptation, is primarily involved in enhancing action potential discharge to depolarizing stimuli, while the slow EPSP acts directly to cause action potential discharge.

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