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Neuropharmacology. 1995 Nov;34(11):1549-57.

Presynaptic inhibition of excitatory synaptic transmission by muscarinic and metabotropic glutamate receptor activation in the hippocampus: are Ca2+ channels involved?

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Brain Research Institute, University of Zurich, Switzerland.


Activation of either muscarinic cholinergic or metabotropic glutamatergic presynaptic receptors inhibits evoked excitatory synaptic responses in the hippocampus. We have investigated two possible mechanisms underlying these actions using whole-cell recording from CA3 pyramidal cells in hippocampal slice cultures. Application of either methacholine (MCh, 10 microM) or trans-aminocyclopentane-1,3-dicarboxylic acid (t-ACPD, 10 microM) was found to reduce the frequency of miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents (mEPSCs) by roughly 50%, without changing their mean amplitude. The voltage-dependent Ca2+ channel blocker Cd2+ (100 microM), in contrast, had no effect on the mEPSC frequency. When the extracellular [K+] was increased from 2.7 to 16 mM, the mEPSC frequency increased from 1.7 to 4.9 Hz. This increase could be completely reversed by applying Cd2+, indicating that it was triggered by voltage-dependent Ca2+ influx. MCh and t-ACPD each decreased the mEPSC frequency by roughly 50% under these conditions. Because the agonists were equally effective in inhibiting spontaneous release whether voltage-dependent channels were activated or not, we conclude that presynaptic cholinergic and glutamatergic inhibition is not mediated by inhibition of presynaptic Ca2+ channels, but rather by a direct interference in the neurotransmitter release process at some point subsequent to Ca2+ influx.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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