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J Neural Transm (Vienna). 1996;103(8-9):889-904.

Antagonism of NMDA receptors but not AMPA/kainate receptors blocks bursting in dopaminergic neurons induced by electrical stimulation of the prefrontal cortex.

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Department of Psychology, University of Wales, Swansea, United Kingdom.


Evidence suggests that the prefrontal cortex (PFC) plays an important role in the burst activity of midbrain dopaminergic (DA) neurons. In particular, electrical stimulation of the PFC elicits patterns of activity in DA neurons, closely time-locked to the stimulation, which resemble natural bursts. Given that natural bursts are produced by the activity of excitatory amino acid (EAA)-ergic afferents, if PFC-induced time-locked bursts are homologues of natural bursts, EAA antagonists should attenuate them. Hence, the NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) antagonist CPP (3-((+/-)-2-carboxypiperazin-4-yl)propyl-1-phosphonic acid) and the AMPA (D,L-alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxalone propionic acid)/kainate antagonist CNQX (6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione) were applied by iontophoresis to DA neurons exhibiting time-locked bursts during PFC stimulation. CPP produced a significant reduction in time-locked bursting. In contrast, CNQX (at currents which antagonised AMPA responses) did not. These effects of CPP and CNQX on time-locked bursting mirror the effects previously reported for these drugs on natural bursting. Since natural bursting and bursting induced by PFC stimulation are both blocked selectively by CPP, the present results increase the degree of analogy between the two burst phenomena, thereby adding extra support to the contention that the cortex is involved in producing the natural bursting in DA neurons.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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