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J Neurophysiol. 1998 Jan;79(1):82-94.

Dopaminergic modulation of NMDA-induced whole cell currents in neostriatal neurons in slices: contribution of calcium conductances.

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Mental Retardation Research Center, University of California, Los Angeles, California 90024-1759, USA.


The present experiments were designed to examine dopamine (DA) modulation of whole cell currents mediated by activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in visualized neostriatal neurons in slices. First, we assessed the ability of DA, D1 and D2 receptor agonists to modulate membrane currents induced by activation of NMDA receptors. The results of these experiments demonstrated that DA potentiated NMDA-induced currents in medium-sized neostriatal neurons. Potentiation of NMDA currents occurred at three different holding potentials, although it was more pronounced at -30 mV. It was mediated by D1 receptors, because it was mimicked by D1 agonists and blocked by exposure to a D1 antagonist. Activation of D2 receptors produced inconsistent effects on NMDA-induced membrane currents. Either decreases, increases, or no effects on NMDA currents occurred. Second, we examined the contributions of intrinsic, voltage-dependent conductances to DA potentiation of NMDA currents. Blockade of K+ conductances did not prevent DA enhancement of NMDA currents. However, voltage-activated Ca2+ conductances provided a major contribution to DA modulation. The dihydropyridine L-type Ca2+ channel blockers, nifedipine, and methoxyverapamil (D-600), markedly reduced but did not totally eliminate the ability of DA to modulate NMDA currents. The D1 receptor agonist SKF 38393 also enhanced Ba2+ currents in neostriatal neurons. Together, these findings provide evidence for a complex interplay between DA, NMDA receptor activation and dihydropyridine-sensitive Ca2+ conductances in controlling responsiveness of neostriatal medium-sized neurons.

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