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J Neurophysiol. 1994 Feb;71(2):761-7.

Glycine exerts potent inhibitory actions on mammalian olfactory bulb neurons.

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Section of Neurobiology, Yale University Medical School, New Haven, Connecticut 06510.


1. It is generally presumed that gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) mediates inhibition in the mammalian brain, whereas glycine is restricted to the brain stem and spinal cord. Recent immunocytochemical and molecular biological studies have demonstrated, however, a widespread distribution of glycine receptors through-out the CNS, including the olfactory bulb. To explore the functional significance of glycine receptors in the olfactory bulb we have used primary culture and whole-cell voltage-clamp recording techniques to test the hypothesis that glycine, as well as GABA, exerts inhibitory actions on olfactory bulb neurons. 2. Cultures of olfactory bulb neurons contain two primary populations of morphologically distinct neurons, mitral/tufted cells and interneurons (granule and periglomerular cells). In all mitral/tufted cells and interneurons examined, both glycine and GABA evoked concentration-dependent desensitizing currents mediated by chloride, similar to those seen in mammalian neurons elsewhere in the brain and spinal cord. 3. The median effective concentration (EC50) for glycine was 125 microM, with a Hill coefficient of 1.7, whereas the EC50 and Hill coefficient for GABA were 52 microM and 1.8, respectively. These values are similar to values previously reported for other central neurons. 4. At moderate concentrations (> 1 microM) strychnine nonselectively antagonized both glycine- and GABA-evoked currents. At low concentrations (< or = 1 microM) strychnine blocked glycine-mediated currents but had little effect on GABA-mediated currents. Similarly, picrotoxin was a nonselective antagonist for glycine- and GABA-mediated currents at high concentrations (100 microM), but was selective for GABA at low concentrations (10 microM).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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