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J Neurophysiol. 1996 Mar;75(3):1138-51.

Whole cell calcium currents in acutely isolated olfactory bulb output neurons of the rat.

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Department of Physiology, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.


1. Voltage-gated whole cell Ca2+ currents have been investigated in olfactory bulb (OB) output neurons acutely isolated from neonatal rats. 2. Identification of OB output neurons, mitral or tufted cells, was based on morphology and size and validated by their retrograde labeling with rhodamine or Fast Blue. Of labeled neurons, 45% exhibited either phasic or nonphasic spontaneous firing that was blocked by 10(-7) M tetrodotoxin, 0.5 mM Cd2+, or 1 mM Co2+ in the bathing solution. 3. Whole cell Ca2+ currents displayed holding potential sensitivity indicative of low voltage-activated (LVA) and high voltage-activated (HVA) currents, which exhibited similar dependence on extracellular Ca2+ concentration and could be completely abolished by bathing in 500 microM Cd2+ or in Ca(2+)-free solution. 4. A T-type LVA Ca2+ current, detected in 65% of OB output neurons tested, was activated by depolarizing to -57 mV from holding potential -86 mV and fully inactivated at holding potentials more positive than -60 mV. It was permeated equally by 2.6 mM Ca2+, Sr2+ and Ba2+. The half-activation potential was -35 mV with a slope factor of 7 mV. Depolarizing to -26 mV from different holding potentials in a 2.6-mM Ca2+ solution gave a steady-state half-inactivation potential of -82 mV with a slope factor of 10.7 mV. This LVA current was not sensitive to 5 microM omega-conotoxin (omega-CgTx) or 5 microM Bay K 8644 and was resistant to block by 30 microM Cd2+, by 50 microM verapamil or by 5 microM nifedipine. 5. HVA Ca2+ currents, detected in 97% of OB output cells, activated at around -30 to -20 mV, with maximum peak current at approximately 4 mV in 2.6 mM Ca2+ external solution. They showed similar permeability to 2.6 mM Ca2+ and Sr2+, but the maximum peak current was increased 40% in 2.6 mM Ba2+. Depolarizing to 4 mV from different holding potentials yielded a half-inactivation potential of -67 mV with a slope factor of 13.2 mV. Two components, as suggested by their sensitivities to 5 microM Bay K 8644, nifedipine. omega-CgTx and to voltage, may resemble the L-type and N-type currents described in other neural preparations. However, 5 microM omega-CgTx seemed to block both components, being more effective at more positive potentials. There was a residual component of Cd(2+)-sensitive current not affected by cumulative addition of nifedipine and omega-CgTx. 6. omega-Agatoxin IVA (omega-Aga), a selective P-type Ca2+ channel blocker, had no detectable effect at 50 or 200 nM and 1 microM doses on whole cell Ca2+ currents elicited by 200-ms voltage steps to 4 mV from holding potential -86 mV. 7. We conclude that both LVA and HVA Ca2+ currents exist in neonatal rat OB output neurons, showing distinct kinetic and pharmacological characteristics. The HVA Ca2+ currents contain at least two components, probably resembling L- and N-type currents. Another fast-inactivating HVA component, insensitive to nifedipine, omega-CgTx and omega-Aga, could represent the newly established R-type Ca2+ current.

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