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J Neurosci. 2007 Oct 24;27(43):11560-72.

Rapid direct excitation and long-lasting enhancement of NMDA response by group I metabotropic glutamate receptor activation of hypothalamic melanin-concentrating hormone neurons.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


The effect of group I metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR1 and mGluR5) activation on identified melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) neurons was studied using patch-clamp recording in hypothalamic slices from green fluorescent protein-expressing transgenic mice. S-3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine (DHPG), a selective group I mGluR agonist, depolarized MCH cells and increased spike frequency. The mGluR-mediated depolarization was not blocked with tetrodotoxin but was significantly reduced by replacement of extracellular Na+ with Tris, by Ni2+ or the Na+/Ca2+ exchanger blocker KB-R7943, or with BAPTA in the pipette, consistent with a mechanism based on activation of the Na+/Ca2+ exchanger. DHPG also decreased potassium currents. DHPG-induced depolarization was reduced by either mGluR1 or mGluR5 antagonists, suggesting involvement of both receptor subtypes. DHPG-induced depolarization desensitized; blockade of mGluR1 prevented the desensitization. Group I mGluR activation enhanced NMDA-evoked currents; this enhancement was remarkably long lasting and could be blocked by protein kinase A or C blockers. DHPG potentiated electrically evoked NMDA receptor-mediated postsynaptic currents, and mGluR5 antagonists blocked this action. Group I mGluRs increased spontaneous EPSCs in MCH neurons, possibly by stimulation of nearby mGluR-expressing hypocretin neurons. We found no tonic activation of mGluRs. However, electrical stimulation produced a slow inward current, which could be blocked by group I mGluR antagonists, suggesting high, but not low, levels of synaptically released glutamate activated mGluRs. Together, group I mGluRs increase MCH neuron activity by multiple presynaptic and postsynaptic mechanisms, suggesting mGluRs may therefore play a role in hypothalamic signaling relating to MCH neuron modulation of food intake and energy metabolism.

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