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J Physiol. 1994 Apr 15;476(2):197-202.

Calcium channels responsible for potassium-induced transmitter release at rat cerebellar synapses.

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Department of Physiology, Kyoto University Faculty of Medicine, Japan.


The effects of calcium channel blockers on potassium-induced transmitter release were studied in thin slices of cerebellum from neonatal rats using whole-cell patch clamp methods. Miniature inhibitory postsynaptic currents (mIPSCs) mediated by gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) were recorded from deep cerebellar nuclear neurones in the presence of tetrodotoxin. The frequency of mIPSCs was reproducibly increased by a brief application of high-potassium solution. In the presence of the L-type Ca2+ channel blocker nicardipine (10 microM), the potassium-induced increase in mIPSC frequency was suppressed by 49%. Neither the mean amplitude nor the time course of mIPSCs was affected by the blocker. The N-type Ca2+ channel blocker omega-conotoxin GVIA (omega-CgTX, 3 microM) had no effect on the frequency of potassium-induced mIPSCs. The P-type Ca2+ channel blocker omega-Aga-IVA (200 nM) suppressed the potassium-induced increase in mIPSC frequency by 83% without affecting the mean amplitude or time course of mIPSCs. Comparing these data with previous studies of neurally evoked transmission, it is concluded that the Ca2+ channel subtypes responsible for potassium-induced transmitter release may be different from those mediating fast synaptic transmission.

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