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Brain Res. 1984 Jul 9;305(2):283-90.

The pharmacology of cholinergic excitatory responses in hippocampal pyramidal cells.


The pharmacology of excitatory cholinergic responses in CA1 pyramidal cells was examined in detail using intracellular recording from the hippocampal slice preparation. Acetylcholine (ACh), carbachol, muscarine and pilocarpine depolarized the membrane potential with an associated increase in input resistance. In addition, these agonists increased cell firing and depressed the afterhyperpolarization (AHP) that is due to a calcium-activated potassium conductance. The weak effects of ACh (20-200 microM) were considerably enhanced by addition of eserine (1-10 microM). All excitatory effects were completely antagonized by atropine (0.1-1 microM) but unaffected by dihydro-beta-erythroidine (DHBE) and gallamine (1-50 microM). In contrast to the muscarinic agonists, the nicotinic agonists nicotine and dimethylphenylpiperazinium (DMPP) had no excitatory effects on CA1 pyramidal cells. Phenyltrimethylammonium (PTMA), at high concentrations did depolarize cells and depress the AHP but these effects were antagonized by atropine and not DHBE or gallamine. The action of the analogue of cyclic GMP, 8-bromo-cyclic GMP, although variable, mimicked the membrane effects of ACh in some cells and depressed the AHP in most cells. Intracellular injection of cyclic GMP routinely depressed the AHP. In summary, we have demonstrated two cholinergic responses of hippocampal pyramidal cells that are mediated purely by muscarinic receptors. We could find no evidence to support a mixed-type receptor or the involvement of nicotinic receptors in the excitation of hippocampal pyramidal cells to cholinergic agents.

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