Article

Mesocortical dopamine neurons operate in distinct temporal domains using multimodal signaling

Department of Physiology and Neuroscience, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina 29425, USA.
The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.75). 05/2005; 25(20):5013-23. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0557-05.2005
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT In vivo extracellular recording studies have traditionally shown that dopamine (DA) transiently inhibits prefrontal cortex (PFC) neurons, yet recent biophysical measurements in vitro indicate that DA enhances the evoked excitability of PFC neurons for prolonged periods. Moreover, although DA neurons apparently encode stimulus salience by transient alterations in firing, the temporal properties of the PFC DA signal associated with various behaviors is often extraordinarily prolonged. The present study used in vivo electrophysiological and electrochemical measures to show that the mesocortical system produces a fast non-DA-mediated postsynaptic response in the PFC that appears to be initiated by glutamate. In contrast, short burst stimulation of mesocortical DA neurons that produced transient (<4 s) DA release in the PFC caused a simultaneous reduction in spontaneous firing (consistent with extracellular in vivo recordings) and a form of DA-induced potentiation in which evoked firing was increased for tens of minutes (consistent with in vitro measurements). We suggest that the mesocortical system might transmit fast signals about reward or salience via corelease of glutamate, whereas the simultaneous prolonged DA-mediated modulation of firing biases the long-term processing dynamics of PFC networks.

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