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Neurosci Res. 1998 Sep;32(1):85-95.

GABAergic inhibition and modifications of taste responses in the cortical taste area in rats.

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Department of Physiology, Kumamoto University School of Medicine, Japan.


Using multibarrel electrodes, recordings were made in the cortical taste area (CTA), specifically in the granular and dysgranular parts of the insular cortex (areas GI and DI), of urethane-anesthetized rats. The effects of an iontophoretic application of gamma-aminobutylic acid (GABA) and bicuculline methiodide (BMI), a specific antagonist to the GABA(A) receptor, were tested. GABA decreased background discharges in ca. 69% of 509 neurons in both areas, and in ca. 58% of 64 taste neurons. BMI antagonized the inhibitory action of GABA in CTA neurons and facilitated background discharges in ca. 51% of the 390 neurons tested, including ca. 69% of the 52 taste neurons, which indicates that CTA neurons have GABA(A) receptors to receive inhibitory inputs from interneurons. In both areas, the effects of BMI (6-20 nA) on taste responses of the 85 CTA neurons (49 and 36 in areas GI and DI, respectively) to the four basic taste stimuli were examined: 65 neurons were recognized in the absence of BMI, whereas 20 only in the presence of the drug. BMI increased taste responses in 25 of the former group and changed the type of their response profiles in 25 including 12 neurons whose responses were increased. It also changed the best stimulus in 34 neurons. The drug affected the receptive fields in almost all cases examined (n = 23) and increased the size in 78.2% when the value for all four basic taste stimuli were totaled. New receptive fields were uncovered by BMI in varying regions of the oral cavity depending on the taste stimulus. But the drug decreased taste responses in several neurons (n = 8). These findings indicate that the GABAergic inhibitory system apparently contributes to modifying or selecting taste information in both areas of the CTA.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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