[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Endocannabinoids (eCBs) modulate synaptic transmission in the brain, but little is known of their regulatory role in nigral dopaminergic neurons, and whether transmission to these neurons is tonically inhibited by eCBs as seen in some other brain regions. Using whole-cell recording in midbrain slices, we observed potentiation of evoked IPSCs (eIPSCs) in these neurons after blocking CB1 receptors with rimonabant or LY-320,135, indicating the presence of an eCB tone reducing inhibitory synaptic transmission. Increased postsynaptic calcium buffering and block of mGluR1 or postsynaptic G-protein coupled receptors prevented this potentiation. Increasing spillover of endogenous glutamate by inhibiting uptake attenuated eIPSC amplitude, while enhancing the potentiation by rimonabant. Group I mGluR activation transiently inhibited eIPSCs, which could be prevented by GDP-β-S, increased calcium buffering or rimonabant. We explored the possibility that the dopamine-derived eCB N-arachidonoyl dopamine (NADA) is involved. The eCB tone was abolished by preventing dopamine synthesis, and enhanced by L-DOPA. It was not detected in adjacent non-dopaminergic neurons. Preventing 2-AG synthesis did not affect the tone, while inhibition of NADA production abolished it. Quantification of ventral midbrain NADA suggested a basal level that increased following prolonged depolarization or mGluR activation. Since block of the tone was not always accompanied by attenuation of depolarization-induced suppression of inhibition (DSI) and vice versa, our results indicate DSI and the eCB tone are mediated by distinct eCBs. This study provides evidence that dopamine modulates the activity of SNc neurons not only by conventional dopamine receptors, but also by CB1 receptors, potentially via NADA.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Spreading depression (SD) is a profound depolarization of neurons and glia that propagates in a wave-like manner across susceptible brain regions, and can develop during periods of compromised cellular energy such as ischemia, when it influences the severity of acute neuronal damage. Although SD has been well characterised in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus, little is known of this event in the Substantia Nigra (SN), a brainstem nucleus engaged in motor control and reward-related behaviour. Transverse brain slices (250μm; P21-23 rats) containing the SN were subject to oxygen and glucose deprivation (OGD) tests, modelling brain ischemia. SD developed in lateral aspects of the SN within 3.3±0.2min of OGD onset, and spread through the Substantia Nigra pars reticulata (SNr), as indicated by fast-occurring and propagating increased tissue light transmittance and negative shift of extracellular DC potential. These events were associated with profound mitochondrial membrane depolarization (ΔΨm) throughout the SN, as demonstrated by increased Rhodamine 123 fluorescence. Extracellular recordings from individual SNr neurons indicated rapid depolarization followed by depolarizing block, while dopaminergic neurons in the Substantia Nigra pars compacta (SNc) showed inhibition of firing associated with hyperpolarization. SD evoked in the SNr was similar to OGD-induced SD in the CA1 region in hippocampal slices. In the hippocampus, SD also developed during anoxia or aglycemia alone (associated with less profound ΔΨm than OGD), while these conditions rarely led to SD in the SNr. Our results demonstrate that OGD consistently evokes SD in the SN, and that this phenomenon only involves the SNr. It remains to be established whether nigral SD contributes to neuronal damage associated with a sudden-onset form of Parkinson's disease known as 'vascular parkinsonism'.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: l-DOPA (Levodopa) remains the gold standard for the treatment of motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD), despite indications that the drug may have detrimental effects in cell culture. Classically, l-DOPA increases the production of dopamine (DA) in nigral dopaminergic neurons, while paradoxically inhibiting the firing of these neurons due to activation of D2 autoreceptors by extracellularly released DA. Using a combination of electrophysiology and calcium microfluorometry in brain slices, we have identified a novel effect of l-DOPA on dopaminergic neurons when D2 receptors were blocked. Under these conditions, l-DOPA (0.03-3mM) evoked an excitatory effect consisting of two components. The 'early' component observed during and immediately after application of the drug, was associated with increased firing, membrane depolarization and inward current. This excitatory response was strongly attenuated by CNQX (10μM), pointing to the involvement of TOPA quinone, an auto-oxidation product of l-DOPA and a potent activator of AMPA/kainate receptors. The 'late' phase of excitation persisted >30min after brief l-DOPA application and was not mediated by ionotropic glutamate receptors, nor by D1, α1-adrenergic, mGluR1 or GABAB receptors. It was eliminated by carbidopa, demonstrating its dependence on conversion of l-DOPA to DA. Exogenous DA (50μM) also evoked a glutamate-receptor independent increase in firing and an inward current when D2 receptors were blocked. In voltage-clamped neurons, both l-DOPA and DA produced a long-lasting increase in [Ca2+]i which was unaffected by block of ionotropic glutamate receptors. These results demonstrate that l-DOPA has dual, inhibitory and excitatory, effects on nigral dopaminergic neurons, and suggest that the excitation and calcium rise may have long-lasting consequences for the activity and survival of these neurons when the expression or function of D2 receptors is impaired.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is consensus that amelioration of the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease is most effective with L-DOPA (levodopa). However, this necessary therapeutic step is biased by an enduring belief that L-DOPA is toxic to the remaining substantia nigra dopaminergic neurons by itself, or by specific metabolites such as dopamine. The concept of L-DOPA toxicity originated from pre-clinical studies conducted mainly in cell culture, demonstrating that L-DOPA or its derivatives damage dopaminergic neurons due to oxidative stress and other mechanisms. However, the in vitro data remain controversial as some studies showed neuroprotective, rather than toxic action of the drug. The relevance of this debate needs to be considered in the context of the studies conducted on animals and in clinical trials that do not provide convincing evidence for L-DOPA toxicity in vivo. This review presents the current views on the pathophysiology of Parkinson's disease, focusing on mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative/proteolytic stress, the factors that can be affected by L-DOPA or its metabolites. We then critically discuss the evidence supporting the two opposing views on the effects of L-DOPA in vitro, as well as the animal and human data. We also address the problem of inadequate experimental models used in these studies. L-DOPA remains the symptomatic 'hero' of Parkinson's disease. Whether it contributes to degeneration of nigral dopaminergic neurons, or is a 'scapegoat' for explaining undesirable or unexpected effects of the treatment, remains a hotly debated topic.
Progress in Neurobiology 06/2011; 94(4):389-407. · 9.04 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Organotypic cultures (OCs) have been widely used to investigate the midbrain dopaminergic system, but only a few studies focused on the functional properties of dopaminergic neurons and their synaptic inputs from dopaminergic and non-dopaminergic neurons also contained in such cultures. In addition, it is not clear whether the culturing process affects the intrinsic neuronal properties and the expression of specific receptors and transporters. We performed patch-clamp recordings from dopaminergic neurons in mesencephalic-striatal co-cultures obtained from transgenic mice expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) under the tyrosine hydroxylase promoter. Some (10/44) GFP+ neurons displayed a bursting activity that renders the firing of these cells similar to that of the dopaminergic neurons in vivo. The culturing process reduced the hyperpolarization-activated current (I(h) ) and the expression of D₂ receptors. Downregulation of D₂ receptor mRNA and protein was confirmed with reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting. Immunocytochemistry revealed that many synaptic terminals, most likely originating from dopaminergic neurons, co-expressed the dopamine (DA) transporter and the vesicular glutamate transporter-2, suggesting a co-release of DA and glutamate. Interestingly, exogenous DA decreased glutamate release in young cultures [days in vitro (DIV)<20] by acting on pre-synaptic D₂ receptors, while in older cultures (DIV>26) DA increased glutamate release by acting on α-1 adrenoreceptors. The facilitatory effect of DA on glutamatergic transmission to midbrain dopaminergic neurons may be important in conditions when the expression of D₂ receptors is compromised, such as long-term treatment with antipsychotic drugs. Our data show that midbrain OCs at DIV>26 may provide a suitable model of such conditions.
European Journal of Neuroscience 03/2011; 33(9):1622-36. · 3.75 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A reliable model system of epileptiform insult would facilitate investigation into the underlying biological mechanisms. Epileptiform insult was induced in hippocampal slice cultures by lowering extracellular Mg(2+), (+)-bicuculline, or (-)-bicuculline methochloride, a stable salt form of bicuculline (both forms block GABA(A) receptors). Cell death was assessed by propidium iodide uptake. Low Mg(2+) or (+)-bicuculline did not produce cell death regardless of dose or incubation period. Exposure to 100 microM (-)-bicuculline methochloride for 48 hr resulted in prominent CA1 cell death. These findings demonstrate that not all pro-epileptic drugs/ion changes used routinely for electrophysiological recording of seizure activity lead to cell death in hippocampal slice cultures and that treatment with bicuculline methochloride can be used as a reliable model for epileptiform insult.
The International journal of neuroscience 10/2010; 120(12):752-9. · 0.86 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: TRPM2 and TPPV4 channels, two members of TRP channel family, are known to be widely expressed in the brain but their exact expression pattern and function are not well understood. Due to their high Ca(2+) permeability and gating by reactive oxygen species (TRPM2), or cell swelling, low pH and high temperature (TRPV4), they are likely to be involved in cell damage associated with various brain pathologies. The aim of this study was to investigate the expression of these channels and their potential role in oxidative stress-induced cell damage in organotypic hippocampal slice cultures, a model that retains the complex interaction between neurons and astrocytes. Channel expression was confirmed with RT-PCR and western blotting, while immunocytochemistry demonstrated TRPM2 in CA1-CA3 pyramidal neurons and TRPV4 in astrocytes. Oxidative stress induced by exogenous application of H(2)O(2) (600 microM) caused preferential damage of pyramidal neurons, while oxidative stress evoked with mercaptosuccinate (MCS; 400 microM) or buthionine sulfoximine (BSO; 4 microM) mainly damaged astrocytes, as identified by propidium iodide fluorescence. Antioxidants (Trolox 500 microM; MitoE 2 microM) reduced both neuronal and astrocytic cell death. Blockers of TRPV4 channels (Gd(3+) 500 microM; Ruthenium red 1 microM) increased the viability of astrocytes following MCS or BSO treatments, consistent with the expression pattern of these channels. Blockers of TRPM2 channels clotrimazole (20 microM), N-(p-amylcinnomoyl)anthranilic acid (ACA, 25 microM) or flufenamic acid (FFA, 200 microM) failed to protect pyramidal neurons from damage caused by exogenous H(2)O(2), and increased damage of these neurons caused by MCS and BSO. The differential expression of stress-sensitive TRPM2 and TRPV4 channels in hippocampal neurons and astrocytes that show distinct differences in vulnerability to different forms of oxidative stress suggests the specific involvement of these channels in oxidative stress-induced cell damage. However, the exact relationship between TRPM2 channel activation and cell death still remains to be determined due to the lack of protective effects of TRPM2 channel blockers.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pauses in the tonic firing of striatal cholinergic interneurons emerge during reward-related learning and are triggered by neutral cues which develop behavioural significance. In a previous in vivo study we have proposed that these pauses in firing may be due to intrinsically generated afterhyperpolarisations (AHPs) evoked by excitatory synaptic inputs, including those below the threshold for action potential firing. The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanism of the AHPs using a brain slice preparation which preserved both cerebral hemispheres. Augmenting cortically evoked postsynaptic potentials (PSPs) by repetitive stimulation of cortical afferents evoked AHPs that were unaffected by blocking either GABA(A) receptors with bicuculline, or GABA(B) receptors with saclofen or CGP55845. Apamin (a blocker of small conductance Ca(2+)-activated K(+) channels) had minimal effects, while chelation of intracellular Ca(2+) with BAPTA reduced the AHP by about 30%. In contrast, blocking hyperpolarisation and cyclic nucleotide activated (HCN) cation current (I(H)) with ZD7288 or Cs(+) diminished the size of the AHPs by 60% and reduced the proportion of episodes that contained this hyperpolarisation. The reversal potential (20 mV) and voltage dependence of the AHPs were consistent with the hypothesis that a transient deactivation of I(H) caused most of the AHP at hyperpolarised potentials, while the slow AHP-type Ca(2+)-activated K(+) channels increasingly contributed at more depolarised membrane potentials. Subthreshold somatic current injections yielded similar AHPs with a median duration of approximately 700 ms that were not affected by firing of a single action potential. These results indicate that transient deactivation of HCN channels evokes pauses in tonic firing of cholinergic interneurons, an event likely to be elicited by augmentation of afferent synaptic inputs during learning.
The Journal of Physiology 11/2009; 587(Pt 24):5879-97. · 4.38 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rotenone is a toxin used to generate animal models of Parkinson's disease; however, the mechanisms of toxicity in substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) neurons have not been well characterized. We have investigated rotenone (0.05-1 microm) effects on SNc neurons in acute rat midbrain slices, using whole-cell patch-clamp recording combined with microfluorometry. Rotenone evoked a tolbutamide-sensitive outward current (94 +/- 15 pA) associated with increases in intracellular [Ca(2+)] ([Ca(2+)](i)) (73.8 +/- 7.7 nm) and intracellular [Na(+)] (3.1 +/- 0.6 mm) (all with 1 microm). The outward current was not affected by a high ATP level (10 mm) in the patch pipette but was decreased by Trolox. The [Ca(2+)](i) rise was abolished by removing extracellular Ca(2+), and attenuated by Trolox and a transient receptor potential M2 (TRPM2) channel blocker, N-(p-amylcinnamoyl) anthranilic acid. Other effects included mitochondrial depolarization (rhodamine-123) and increased mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) production (MitoSox), which was also abolished by Trolox. A low concentration of rotenone (5 nm) that, by itself, did not evoke a [Ca(2+)](i) rise resulted in a large (46.6 +/- 25.3 nm) Ca(2+) response when baseline [Ca(2+)](i) was increased by a 'priming' protocol that activated voltage-gated Ca(2+) channels. There was also a positive correlation between 'naturally' occurring variations in baseline [Ca(2+)](i) and the rotenone-induced [Ca(2+)](i) rise. This correlation was not seen in non-dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra pars reticulata (SNr). Our results show that mitochondrial ROS production is a key element in the effect of rotenone on ATP-gated K(+) channels and TRPM2-like channels in SNc neurons, and demonstrate, in these neurons (but not in the SNr), a large potentiation of rotenone-induced [Ca(2+)](i) rise by a small increase in baseline [Ca(2+)](i).
European Journal of Neuroscience 11/2009; 30(10):1849-59. · 3.75 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Calpains are Ca(2+)-activated enzymes which cleave cytoskeletal and other proteins, contributing to neuronal damage in conditions of pathological intracellular Ca(2+) elevation, including stroke. However, the consequences of calpain overactivation have typically been observed hours after insult. To identify the earliest events attributable to calpain activation, and thus potentially isolate calpain substrates involved in acute neuronal damage, we dynamically recorded the effects of calpain inhibition in an in vitro model of stroke. Extracellular DC potentials and fEPSPs were monitored together with changes of light transmittance (as a measure of cell and mitochondrial swelling) and Rh 123 fluorescence (to monitor mitochondrial membrane potential; DeltaPsi(m)) in hippocampal slices obtained from P12-P17 rats. No differences were observed in the latencies of fEPSP disruption or onset of extracellular DC shifts associated with hypoxic spreading depression (HSD) evoked by oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) under control conditions or in the presence of calpain inhibitor III (MDL 28170). However, a significant difference was observed in transmitted light signals during OGD with calpain inhibition. Given the potential contribution of mitochondrial swelling to changes in light transmittance, these experiments were also conducted in the presence of cyclosporin A to block opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (MPTP). Our results indicate that differences in OGD-induced changes of light transmittance in the presence of MDL 28170 are not likely the result of MPTP blockade or changes in dendritic beading. We propose that calpain inhibition may alter changes in light transmittance by limiting conformational changes of mitochondria.
Brain Research 03/2008; 1196:121-30. · 2.88 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: ATP is released during hypoxia from the ventrolateral medulla (VLM) and activates purinergic P2 receptors (P2Rs) at unknown loci to offset the secondary hypoxic depression of breathing. In this study, we used rhythmically active medullary slices from neonatal rat to map, in relation to anatomical and molecular markers of the pre-Bötzinger complex (preBötC) (a proposed site of rhythm generation), the effects of ATP on respiratory rhythm and identify the P2R subtypes responsible for these actions. Unilateral microinjections of ATP in a three-dimensional grid within the VLM revealed a "hotspot" where ATP (0.1 mM) evoked a rapid 2.2 +/- 0.1-fold increase in inspiratory frequency followed by a brief reduction to 0.83 +/- 0.02 of baseline. The hotspot was identified as the preBötC based on histology, overlap of injection sites with NK1R immunolabeling, and potentiation or inhibition of respiratory frequency by SP ([Sar9-Met(O2)11]-substance P) or DAMGO ([D-Ala2,N-MePhe4,Gly-ol5]-enkephalin), respectively. The relative potency of P2R agonists [2MeSADP (2-methylthioadenosine 5'-diphosphate) approximately = 2MeSATP (2-methylthioadenosine 5'-triphosphate) approximately = ATPgammas (adenosine 5'-[gamma-thio]triphosphate tetralithium salt) approximately = ATP > UTP approximately = alphabeta meATP (alpha,beta-methylene-adenosine 5'-triphosphate)] and attenuation of the ATP response by MRS2179 (2'-deoxy-N6-methyladenosine-3',5'-bisphosphate) (P2Y1 antagonist) indicate that the excitation is mediated by P2Y1Rs. The post-ATP inhibition, which was never observed in response to ATPgammas, is dependent on ATP hydrolysis. These data establish in neonatal rats that respiratory rhythm generating networks in the preBötC are exquisitely sensitive to P2Y1R activation, and suggest a role for P2Y1Rs in respiratory motor control, particularly in the P2R excitation of rhythm that occurs during hypoxia.
Journal of Neuroscience 01/2007; 27(5):993-1005. · 6.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During a period of acute ischemia in vivo or oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) in vitro, CA1 neurons depolarize, swell and become overloaded with calcium. Our aim was to test the hypothesis that the initial responses to OGD are at least partly due to transient receptor potential (TRP) channel activation. As some TRP channels are temperature-sensitive, we also compared the effects of pharmacological blockade of the channels with the effects of reducing temperature. Acute hippocampal slices (350 mum) obtained from Wistar rats were submerged in ACSF at 36 degrees C. CA1 neurons were monitored electrophysiologically using extracellular, intracellular or whole-cell patch-clamp recordings. Cell swelling was assessed by recording changes in relative tissue resistance, and changes in intracellular calcium were measured after loading neurons with fura-2 dextran. Blockers of TRP channels (ruthenium red, La3+, Gd3+, 2-APB) or lowering temperature by 3 degrees C reduced responses to OGD. This included: (a) an increased delay to negative shifts of extracellular DC potential; (b) reduction in rate of the initial slow membrane depolarization, slower development of OGD-induced increase in cell input resistance and slower development of whole-cell inward current; (c) reduced tissue swelling; and (d) a smaller rise in intracellular calcium. Mild hypothermia (33 degrees C) and La3+ or Gd3+ (100 microM) showed an occlusion effect when delay to extracellular DC shifts was measured. Expression of TRPM2/TRPM7 (oxidative stress-sensitive) and TRPV3/TRPV4 (temperature-sensitive) channels was demonstrated in the CA1 subfield with RT-PCR. These results indicate that TRP or TRP-like channels are activated by cellular stress and contribute to ischemia-induced membrane depolarization, intracellular calcium accumulation and cell swelling. We also hypothesize that closing of some TRP channels (TRPV3 and/or TRPV4) by lowering temperature may be partly responsible for the neuroprotective effect of hypothermia.
Brain Research 04/2006; 1077(1):187-99. · 2.88 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Expression of the noradrenaline transporter (NAT) was examined in normal human adrenal medulla and phaeochromocytoma by using immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy. The enzymes tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and phenylethanolamine N-methyltransferase (PNMT) were used as catecholamine biosynthetic markers and chromogranin A (CGA) as a marker for secretory granules. Catecholamine content was measured by using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). In normal human adrenal medulla (n=5), all chromaffin cells demonstrated strong TH, PNMT and NAT immunoreactivity. NAT was co-localized with PNMT and was located within the cytoplasm with a punctate appearance. Human phaeochromocytomas demonstrated strong TH expression (n=20 samples tested) but variable NAT and PNMT expression (n=24). NAT immunoreactivity ranged from absent (n=3) to weak (n=10) and strong (n=11) and, in some cases, occupied an apparent nuclear location. Unlike the expression seen in normal human adrenal medullary tissue, NAT expression was not consistently co-localized with PNMT. PNMT also showed highly variable expression that was poorly correlated with tumour adrenaline content. Immunoreactivity for CGA was colocalized with NAT within the cytoplasm of normal human chromaffin cells (n=4). This co-localization was not consistent in phaeochromocytoma tumour cells (n=7). The altered pattern of expression for both NAT and PNMT in phaeochromocytoma indicates a significant disruption in the regulation and possibly in the function of these proteins in adrenal medullary tumours.
Cell and Tissue Research 01/2006; 322(3):443-53. · 3.68 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Changes in temperature of up to several degrees have been reported in different brain regions during various behaviors or in response to environmental stimuli. We investigated temperature sensitivity of dopaminergic neurons of the rat substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc), an area important for motor and emotional control, using a combination of electrophysiological techniques, microfluorometry, and RT-PCR in brain slices. Spontaneous neuron firing, cell membrane potential/currents, and intracellular Ca2+ level ([Ca2+]i) were measured during cooling by < or =10 degrees and warming by < or =5 degrees from 34 degrees C. Cooling evoked slowing of firing, cell membrane hyperpolarization, increase in cell input resistance, an outward current under voltage clamp, and a decrease of [Ca2+]i. Warming induced an increase in firing frequency, a decrease in input resistance, an inward current, and a rise in [Ca2+]i. The cooling-induced current, which reversed in polarity between -5 and -17 mV, was dependent on extracellular Na+. Cooling-induced whole cell currents and changes in [Ca2+]i were attenuated by 79% in the presence of 2-aminoethoxydiphenylborane (2-APB; 200 microM), and the outward current was reduced by 20% with ruthenium red (100 microM). RT-PCR conducted with tissue punches containing the SNc revealed mRNA expression for TRPV3 and TRPV4 channels, known to be activated in expression systems by temperature changes within the physiological range. 2-APB, a TRPV3 modulator, increased baseline [Ca2+]i, whereas 4alphaPDD, a TRPV4 agonist, increased spontaneous firing in 7 of 14 neurons tested. We conclude that temperature-gated TRPV3 and TRPV4 cationic channels are expressed in nigral dopaminergic neurons and are constitutively active in brain slices at near physiological temperatures, where they affect the excitability and calcium homeostasis of these neurons.
Journal of Neurophysiology 12/2005; 94(5):3069-80. · 3.30 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 6-Hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) is a neurotoxin which has been implicated in the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) in Parkinson's disease (PD), and is frequently used to produce animal models of the disease. The aim of our study, conducted on midbrain slices obtained from young Wistar rats, was to determine the little known acute effects of this toxin (0.2-2.0 mM; 10-20 min exposure; 34 degrees C) on electrophysiological properties, intracellular Ca2+ levels and dendritic morphology of SNc neurons. Four experimental approaches were used: extracellular recording of firing frequency, whole-cell patch-clamping, ratiometric fura-2 imaging, and cell labeling with lucifer yellow (LY) or dextran-rhodamine. Extracellular recording revealed a concentration-dependent decrease in the tonic, pacemaker-like firing. In whole-cell recordings in voltage-clamp (V(hold) -60 mV), smaller doses (0.2-0.5 mM) induced an outward current (or cell membrane hyperpolarization in current-clamp), which could in some cells be reversed with tolbutamide (blocker of ATP-dependent K+ channels). A higher dose (1.0-2.0 mM) caused rapid reductions of cell membrane capacitance and membrane resistance. Toxin exposure gradually increased the intracellular Ca2+ level, which did not subsequently return to control. The increase in Ca2+ signal was not prevented by depletion of intracellular Ca2+ stores with thapsigargin (10 microM) or cyclopiazonic acid (30 microM), nor by removing extracellular Ca2+. Cell membrane current and Ca2+ responses were not prevented by blocking dopamine transporter (DAT). Cells loaded with LY or dextran-rhodamine showed signs of damage (cell membrane blebbing) in dendrites following toxin exposure (1 mM; 10-20 min). These results demonstrate that the oxidative and metabolic stress induced in SNc neurons by 6-OHDA results in rapid dose-dependent changes of cell membrane properties with morphological evidence of dendritic damage, as well as in disturbance of intracellular Ca2+ homeostasis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Motoneurons of the compact division of the nucleus ambiguus (cNA) are the final output neurons of the swallowing pattern generator. Thus, their normal function is critical to neonatal survival. To explore the role of purinergic signaling in modulating the excitability of these motoneurons during development, immunohistochemical and whole-cell recording techniques were used to characterize expression patterns of ionotropic P2X receptors and the effects of ATP on cNA motoneurons. Medullary slices containing the cNA were prepared from neonatal (P0-4) and juvenile (P15-21) rats. In neonatal cNA motoneurons, local application of 1 mM ATP produced a large (-133 +/- 17 pA; n = 78), desensitizing, inward current that was mimicked by 1 mM alpha,beta meATP and 2meSATP, and inhibited by the P2 antagonist, PPADS (5 microM), and the P2X3 antagonist, A-317481 (0.1-1 mM). In juvenile cNA motoneurons, 1 mM ATP produced negligible currents, while 10 mM ATP produced small (-59 +/- 14 pA; n = 42), primarily non-desensitizing currents. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated that in the neonate, the expression of P2X3 was robust, P2X2 and P2X5 moderate, P2X4 and P2X6 weak, and P2X1 absent. In the juvenile cNA, only low levels of P2X5 and P2X6 labeling were detected. These data indicate that P2X receptors in cNA motoneurons are profoundly downregulated during the first two postnatal weeks, and suggest a role for the purinoceptor system, particularly P2X3 receptors, in the control of esophageal motor networks during early postnatal periods.
European Journal of Neuroscience 09/2005; 22(4):809-24. · 3.75 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Acetylcholine, acting through muscarinic receptors, modulates the excitability of striatal medium spiny neurones. However, the underlying membrane conductances and intracellular signalling pathways have not been fully determined. Our aim was to characterize excitatory effects mediated by M1 muscarinic acetylcholine receptors in these neurones using whole-cell patch-clamp recordings in brain slices of postnatal rats. Under voltage-clamp, muscarine evoked an inward current associated with an increase in cell membrane resistance. The current, which reversed at -85 mV, was sensitive to the M1 receptor antagonist pirenzepine. Blocking the potassium conductance attenuated the response and the residual current was further reduced by ruthenium red (50 microm) and reversed at +15 mV. Simultaneous recordings from cholinergic interneurones and medium spiny neurones in conjunction with spike-triggered averaging revealed small unitary excitatory postsynaptic currents in four of 39 cell pairs tested. The muscarine-induced inward current was attenuated by a phospholipase C (PLC) inhibitor, U73122, but not by a protein kinase C inhibitor, chelerythrine, or by the intracellular calcium chelator 1,2-bis(2-aminophenoxy) ethane-N,N,N',N'-tetra-acetic acid, suggesting that the current was associated with PLC in a protein kinase C- and Ca2+ -independent manner. The phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase inhibitor wortmannin (10 microm) reduced the recovery of the inward current, indicating that the recovery process was dependent on the removal of diacylglycerol and/or inositol 1,4,5 triphosphate or resynthesis of phospholipid phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphophate. Ratiometric measurement of intracellular calcium after cell loading with fura-2 demonstrated a muscarine-induced increase in calcium signal that originated mainly from intracellular stores. Thus, the cholinergic excitatory effect in striatal medium spiny neurones, which is important in motor disorders associated with altered cholinergic transmission in the striatum such as Parkinson's disease, is mediated through M1 receptors and the PLC-dependent pathway.
European Journal of Neuroscience 10/2004; 20(5):1219-30. · 3.75 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM) is the major brainstem region contributing to sympathetic control of blood pressure. We have compared the expression of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor subunits (NR1, NR2A-D), NR1 splice variants (NR1-1a/1b, -2a/2b, -3a/3b, -4a/4b), and the neuronal and inducible isoforms of NO synthase (nNOS and iNOS) in the RVLM of Wistar Kyoto (WKY) and spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR), based on the hypothesis that altered NMDA receptor make-up or altered expression of endogenous NO may be associated with the increase in sympathetic output described from this site in hypertension. Total RNA was extracted and reverse transcribed from the RVLM of mature male WKY and SHR (16-23 weeks). Conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) indicated that only the NR1 splice variants NR1-2a, NR1-2b, NR1-4a and NR1-4b were expressed in the RVLM of either species. Quantitative real-time PCR indicated that for both strains of rat, mRNA for the NR1 subunit (all splice variants) was the most abundant (16.5-fold greater, P< or =0.05, relative to the NR2A subunit). Amongst the NR2A-D subunits, NR2C was the most abundant (7- and 1.7-fold greater relative to the NR2A subunit, P< or =0.05, WKY and SHR, respectively). Relative to WKY, mRNA levels for the NR2C and NR2D subunits in the SHR RVLM were significantly lower (0.3- and 0.25-fold less, P< or =0.05), while nNOS was significantly higher (1.76-fold greater, P< or =0.05). This was confirmed immunohistochemically for nNOS expression. These results demonstrate differential expression levels of NMDA receptor subunits and NOS isoforms in the RVLM region of SHR when compared to WKY rats.
Molecular Brain Research 10/2004; 129(1-2):33-43. · 2.00 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To further our understanding of the role that voltage-activated Ca2+ channels play in the development, physiology and pathophysiology of motoneurones (MNs), we used whole-cell patch-clamp recording to compare voltage-activated Ca2+ currents in oculomotor (III) and hypoglossal (XII) MNs of neonatal [postnatal day (P)1-5] and juvenile (P14-19) rats. In contrast to III MNs that innervate extraocular muscles, XII MNs that innervate tongue muscles mature more rapidly, fire bursts of low frequency action potentials and are vulnerable to degeneration in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In neonates, low voltage-activated (LVA) Ca2+ current densities are similar in XII and III MNs but high voltage-activated (HVA) Ca2+ current densities are twofold higher in XII MNs. The HVA Ca2+ channel antagonists (nimodipine and nifedipine for L-type, omega-agatoxin-TK for P/Q-type and omega-conotoxin-GVIA for N-type) revealed that, while N- and P/Q-type HVA Ca2+ channels are present in both MN pools, a 3.5-fold greater P/Q-type Ca2+ current in XII MNs accounts for their greater HVA Ca2+ currents. Developmentally, LVA and HVA Ca2+ current densities decrease in III MNs but remain unchanged in XII MNs. Thus, the differences between these MN pools increase developmentally so that, in juveniles, the LVA Ca2+ current density is twofold greater and the HVA Ca2+ current density is threefold greater in XII compared with III MNs. We propose that this differential expression of LVA and HVA Ca2+ channels in XII and III MNs during development contributes to their distinct physiology and may also be a factor contributing to the greater susceptibility of XII MNs to degeneration as seen in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
European Journal of Neuroscience 09/2004; 20(4):903-13. · 3.75 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite resembling each other in many respects, dopaminergic neurons of the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNc) and ventral tegmental area (VTA) exhibit dissimilar responses to nicotine in vivo. To investigate this in an in vitro model, the acute effects of nicotine on the firing of SNc and VTA neurons were compared in transverse juvenile rat midbrain sections (300-350 microm) using extracellular recording. Levels of nicotine comparable with those encountered in smokers (0.2-1.0 microM, 3 min) not only increased firing rate, but also evoked prolonged irregular firing, as indicated by the increase in the coefficient of variation of discharge frequencies. Pre- and postsynaptic nicotinic cholinergic receptors (nAChRs) were involved, as both effects persisted, although at an attenuated level, in low Ca2+ / high Mg2+. Only the nicotine-induced elevation of firing rate was sensitive to the glutamate receptor antagonists APV and CNQX, implying that enhanced glutamate release and glutamate receptor activation are involved in the effects of nicotine on discharge frequency but not pattern. Furthermore, nicotine (1.0 microM) exerted a greater increase in the firing frequency of VTA neurons relative to SNc neurons, suggesting that the differential effects on the two populations previously reported in vivo were due to a difference in the postsynaptic nAChR response and/or local synaptic circuits. Low concentrations of nicotine can thus profoundly modulate the activity of dopaminergic mesencephalic neurons through a local action within the ventral midbrain in vitro, and, similarly to in vivo conditions, evoke stronger effects in the VTA.