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Synapse. 1996 Jul;23(3):208-18.

Glutamate receptor regulation of rat nucleus accumbens neurons in vivo.

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Department of Neuroscience, University of Health Sciences, Chicago Medical School, Illinois 60064, USA.


Extracellular single cell recording and microiontophoretic techniques were used to characterize the roles of ionotropic and metabotropic glutamate receptors (iGluRs and mGluRs) in glutamate-induced excitation of rat nucleus accumbens (NAc) neurons in vivo. Pulse-ejected glutamate (16-128 nA) induced a current-dependent increase in the firing of quiescent NAc neurons. A stronger excitatory response to alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-proprionic acid (AMPA) was observed at much lower ejection currents (0.1-6.4 nA). Compared to AMPA and glutamate, N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) induced a much less potent excitation in a narrow current range (1-4 nA) and only when neurons were previously "primed" with other excitatory amino acids (EAAs). Higher ejection currents of all three EAA agonists drove NAc neurons into a state of apparent depolarization block. AMPA-evoked firing was selectively blocked by the AMPA receptor antagonist 6,7-dinitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (DNQX) whereas NMDA-induced activity was selectively prevented by the NMDA receptor antagonist 2-amino-5-phosphonovalerate (D-AP5). DNQX, but not D-AP5, significantly attenuated glutamate-evoked activity. The mGluR receptor agonist (1S,3R)-1-aminocyclopentane-1,3-dicarboxylic acid (1S,3R-t-ACPD) failed to evoke activity of NAc neurons, but significantly reduced the excitatory effects of other EAAs. This modulatory effect of 1S,3R-t-ACPD was consistently blocked by the selective mGluR antagonist L(+)-2-amino-3-phopsonopropionic acid (L-AP3) whereas another mGluR antagonist (RS)-4-carboxy-3-hydroxy phenylglycine (4C3HPG) was inconsistent in this regard. These results indicate that the excitatory effects of glutamate on rat NAc neurons in vivo are primarily mediated by non-NMDA iGluRs and that mGluRs function to dampen excessive glutamate transmission through iGluRs.

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