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Following brief stimulation of an afferent pathway, the bag cell neurons of Aplysia undergo a dramatic change in excitability, resulting in a prolonged discharge of spontaneous action potentials. During the discharge, the action potentials of the bag cell neurons become enhanced in height and width. The afterdischarge triggers release of neuroactive peptides that initiate egg-laying behavior in this animal. Evidence suggests that changes in excitability of the bag cell neurons may be mediated by activation of protein kinase C (PKC) and cAMP-dependent protein kinase (cAMP-PK). PKC activators, such as the phorbol ester TPA (12-O-tetradecanoyl-13-phorbol acetate), enhance the amplitude of action potentials in isolated bag cell neurons in cell culture. These agents act by unmasking a previously covert species of voltage-dependent calcium channel resulting in an increase in calcium current. In the accompanying paper (Conn et al., 1989), we showed that H-7, a protein kinase inhibitor, inhibits the effect of TPA, and is a selective inhibitor of PKC relative to cAMP-PK in these cells. We now report that another PKC inhibitor, sphinganine, also inhibits the effect of TPA on action potential height and calcium current in cultured bag cell neurons, and that N-acetylsphinganine, an inactive sphinganine analog, fails to inhibit the effects of PKC activators. Although both H-7 and sphinganine prevent the effects of TPA when added prior to TPA addition, neither compound reverses the effects of TPA when added after the action potentials have already become enhanced by TPA.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
Patients with autonomic failure secondary to dopamine beta-hydroxylase deficiency lack the enzyme activity necessary for the conversion of dopamine to norepinephrine in sympathetic nerve terminals and the adrenal medulla. These patients have virtually undetectable norepinephrine and epinephrine in plasma and cerebrospinal fluid. The presence of intact sympathetic nerve activity in these patients has been suggested by the enhanced release of dopamine (but not norepinephrine) in response to maneuvers that augment sympathetic outflow in normal subjects. In the present study, we recorded sympathetic nerve traffic by using microneurography in a patient with dopamine beta-hydroxylase deficiency and measured sympathetic neural responses to static exercise, the cold pressor test, and pharmacological alterations of blood pressure. At rest, sympathetic nerve activity was abundant and was modulated in a normal manner by handgrip (+278%), the cold pressor test (+169%), hypotension induced with isoproterenol (+102%), and hypertension induced with phenylephrine (-85%). These results provide the first electrophysiological evidence for intact regulation of sympathetic neural outflow in a patient with dopamine beta-hydroxylase deficiency and suggest that central norepinephrine and epinephrine pathways believed essential for the control of sympathetic neurotransmission in humans may be supplanted by alternative redundant mechanisms.
Our data show that different cell types recorded in vitro can be identified by their intrinsic membrane properties. One type of neuron, namely S-AHP cells, have the ability to fire single action potentials in a rhythmic fashion following sufficient membrane depolarization. The rate is apparently controlled by several voltage-dependent conductances. S-AHP cells are normally quiescent at their resting potentials but will discharge once threshold is reached (-55 to -60 mV). Importantly, S-AHP (or F-AHP) cells will not convert into burst-firing neurons merely with changes in membrane potential. On the other hand, burst-firing cells have the ability to switch to a repetitive-firing pattern following membrane depolarization. All of these data provide a first step in an understanding of the firing rates of basal forebrain neurons, however, our results must be consolidated with existing in vivo studies for a more general understanding of basal forebrain function. Comparing our data to an in vivo preparation of the MS/nDB with synaptic afferents surgically removed may be one approach to correlating in vitro and in vivo studies. Vinogradova et al. (1980) used single unit recording techniques in unanesthetized chronic rabbits and compared the firing rates of cells before and after deafferentation. These authors reported a preservation of burst-firing neurons (25% of the cells) after deafferentation but with a significant reduction in the mean frequency of bursts. In addition a higher percentage of regularly firing cells also occurred following deafferentation (Vinogradova et al., 1980). It is interesting to speculate that these regularly firing cells may correspond to S-AHP cells in our in vitro studies, and some of the burst-firing units may correspond to the burst-firing cells we record in slices. Nevertheless, the in vivo data strongly suggests that endogenous regular spiking as well as rhythmic burst capabilities are present in some MS/nDB cells, however, the firing rates of most MS/nDB neurons are strongly influenced by synaptic afferents (see also Vinogradova et al., 1980; 1987). The endogenous activity in vivo can be explained, in part, by the intrinsic properties elucidated in our in vitro studies. How the synaptic afferents control MS/nDB circuitry and integrative output is premature to speculate without a more thorough understanding of the synaptic mechanisms involved. It is possible that future in vitro studies will help define these mechanisms and again contribute to an understanding of basal forebrain function.
Firing patterns, action potential characteristics and some active membrane properties of guinea-pig medial septum/diagonal band neurons were studied in an in vitro slice preparation. A comparison was made between several types of cells classified according to either extracellularly recorded (n = 130) or intracellularly recorded (n = 30) electrophysiological characteristics. Using multi-barrel extracellular electrodes, three principal cell types were distinguished: slow rhythmic firing cells (29%), fast rhythmic firing cells (65%) and burst-firing cells (6%). Most slow firing cells could also be distinguished from other cell types by their relatively longer action potential duration and a characteristic cadmium-sensitive "hump" in the repolarization phase of the action potential. These characteristics of slow firing cells matched well with the characteristics of cholinergic, slow afterhyperpolarization cells previously identified with intracellular recordings. The action potential shape, firing rate and firing pattern characteristics of about 60% of extracellularly recorded fast rhythmic firing cells matched those of previously identified non-cholinergic fast afterhyperpolarization cells. The remaining extracellularly recorded, rhythmic firing cells (about 10% of slow firing and 40% of fast firing cells) had a mixture of characteristics which precluded unequivocal classification as to cholinergic or non-cholinergic cell type. Using intracellular recording, the bee venom toxin, apamin, was shown to attenuate the characteristic post spike slow afterhyperpolarization of cholinergic cells and greatly enhanced their firing rate to depolarizing pulses. Apamin often attenuated a smaller and more transient afterhyperpolarization found in identified non-cholinergic cells, but firing rate was increased only slightly. Extracellular recordings from slow and fast rhythmic firing cells in the presence of apamin showed that excitability of slow firing cells was enhanced significantly more than fast firing cells. The apamin data support the hypothesis that extracellularly recorded slow firing cells are cholinergic. We conclude that extracellularly recorded medial septum/diagonal band cells characterized by broad action potentials, slow rhythmic firing under microiontophoresed glutamate and a signature "hump" in the falling phase of the action potential are cholinergic cells. Extracellularly recorded fast rhythmic firing cells with a narrow action potential and no "hump" in the action potential are likely to be non-cholinergic cells. This extracellular electrophysiological "fingerprint" for cholinergic medial septum/diagonal band cells in vitro may now be extended to studies in vivo where controversy remains as to the neurochemical identity of basal forebrain cells involved in control of hippocampal slow rhythmic activity.
1. Phosphoinositide hydrolysis-linked excitatory amino acid (EAA) receptors (ACPD receptors) are selectively activated by the glutamate analogue trans-1-amino-1,3-cyclopentanedicarboxylic acid (trans-ACPD). Regional analysis of trans-ACPD-induced phosphoinositide hydrolysis indicates that this response is greater in the hippocampus than in other brain regions. Therefore we designed a series of studies aimed at testing the hypothesis that activation of this receptor modulates synaptic function in the hippocampal region. 2. We report that trans-ACPD dramatically altered field population spikes at each of the three major synapses in the hippocampal trisynaptic circuit at concentrations that are effective in activating phosphoinositide hydrolysis. At the perforant path-dentate gyrus synapse, bath application of trans-ACPD resulted in a decrease in the amplitude of field population spikes. In contrast, trans-ACPD markedly enhanced field population spike amplitude at the mossy fiber-CA3 synapse and the Schaffer collateral-CA1 synapse. In area CA1, but not area CA3, trans-ACPD also induced generation of multiple population spikes. 3. Simultaneous field potential recordings from the s. pyramidale and s. radiatum in area CA1 revealed that the effect of trans-ACPD on population spikes in this region was not accompanied by an increase in the initial slope of the field EPSP. This suggests that the effect of trans-ACPD was not mediated by a presynaptic action but must be mediated by direct effects on CA1 pyramidal cells or by a decrease in synaptic inhibition. 4. trans-ACPD had a number of direct excitatory effects on CA1 pyramidal cells. These included 1) cell depolarization (with an increase in input resistance), 2) inhibition of the slow afterhyperpolarization, and 3) blockade of spike frequency adaptation. trans-ACPD also had effects on CA1 pyramidal cells that were not excitatory in nature. These included an increase in the threshold for initiation of calcium spikes and an increase in interspike interval during prolonged current injection. None of these effects were mimicked by an ACPD analogue that does not activate the ACPD receptor (trans-methanoglutamate), nor were they blocked by kynurenate, a nonselective EAA receptor antagonist that does not block the ACPD receptor.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
Selective activation of metabotropic glutamate receptors with trans-1-amino-1,3-cyclopentanedicarboxylic acid (trans-ACPD) stimulates phosphoinositide hydrolysis and elicits three major physiological responses in area CA1 of the hippocampus. These include direct excitation of pyramidal cells, blockade of synaptic inhibition, and decreased transmission at the Schaffer collateral-CA1 pyramidal cell synapse. Physiological effects of trans-ACPD are thought to be mediated by activation of phosphoinositide hydrolysis. However, it is now clear that multiple metabotropic glutamate receptor subtypes exist, some of which are not coupled to phosphoinositide hydrolysis. Thus, we performed a series of studies aimed at determining whether the physiological effects of trans-ACPD in the hippocampus are mediated by activation of the predominant phosphoinositide hydrolysis-linked glutamate-receptor. We report that L-2-amino-3-phosphonopropionic acid (L-AP3), an antagonist of trans-ACPD-stimulated phosphoinositide hydrolysis, does not inhibit the physiological effects of trans-ACPD in area CA1 at concentrations that maximally inhibit trans-ACPD-stimulated phosphoinositide hydrolysis in this region. Furthermore, 1S,3S-ACPD activates the phosphoinositide hydrolysis-linked glutamate receptor but does not reduce evoked field excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) in area CA1. However, we report that the physiological effects of 1R,3S- and 1S,3R-ACPD are consistent with the hypothesis that these effects are mediated by activation of a metabotropic glutamate receptor. Thus, our data are consistent with the hypothesis that the physiological effects of trans-ACPD in area CA1 of the hippocampus are mediated by metabotropic glutamate receptors that are distinct from the AP3-sensitive phosphoinositide hydrolysis-linked glutamate receptor.
1. The effects of palmitoyl-DL-carnitine (0.01 to 1 mM) on whole cell voltage-activated calcium channel currents carried by calcium or barium and Ca(2+)-activated chloride currents were studied in cultured neurones from rat dorsal root ganglia. 2. Palmitoyl-DL-carnitine applied to the extracellular environment or intracellularly via the patch solution reduced Ca2+ currents activated over a wide voltage range from a holding potential of -90 mV. Inhibition of high voltage activated Ca2+ channel currents was dependent on intracellular Ca2+ buffering and was reduced by increasing the EGTA concentration from 2 to 10 mM in the patch solution. Barium currents were significantly less sensitive to palmitoyl-DL-carnitine than Ca2+ currents. 3. The amplitude of Ca(2+)-activated Cl- tail currents was reduced by palmitoyl-DL-carnitine. However, the duration of these Cl- currents was greatly prolonged by palmitoyl-DL-carnitine, suggesting slower removal of free Ca2+ from the cytoplasm following Ca2+ entry through voltage-activated channels. 4. Palmitoyl-DL-carnitine evoked Ca(2+)-dependent inward currents which could be promoted by activation of the residual voltage-activated Ca2+ currents and attenuated by intracellular application of EGTA. 5. We conclude that palmitoyl-DL-carnitine reduced the efficiency of intracellular Ca2+ handling in cultured dorsal root ganglion neurones and resulted in enhancement of Ca(2+)-dependent events including inactivation of voltage-activated Ca2+ currents. The activation of inward currents by palmitolyl-DL-carnitine may involve Ca(2+)-induced Ca2+ release from intracellular stores, or direct interaction of palmitoyl-DL-carnitine with Ca2+ stores.
Calcium channels in neurons mediate a wide variety of essential functions. In addition to contributing to action potential shape, they furnish a substrate that acts as an intracellular second messenger. This study shows that the shape of the neuronal action potential has characteristics that promote long openings of L-type (high threshold) calcium channels. We also present evidence that a change in the firing rate of isolated neurons modulates gating of single calcium channels. This mechanism could be important in modulating neuron excitability and providing a rise in intracellular Ca, when needed.
1. Voltage-activated Ca2+ currents and caffeine (1 to 10 mM) were used to increase intracellular Ca2+ in rat cultured dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neurones. Elevation of intracellular Ca2+ resulted in activation of inward currents which were attenuated by increasing the Ca2+ buffering capacity of cells by raising the concentration of EGTA in the patch solution to 10 mM. Low and high voltage-activated Ca2+ currents gave rise to Cl- tail currents in cells loaded with CsCl patch solution. Outward Ca2+ channel currents activated at very depolarized potentials (Vc + 60 mV to + 100 mV) also activated Cl- tail currents, which were enhanced when extracellular Ca2+ was elevated from 2 mM to 4 mM. 2. The Ca(2+)-activated Cl- tail currents were identified by estimation of tail current reversal potential by use of a double pulse protocol and by sensitivity to the Cl- channel blocker 5-nitro 2-(3-phenyl-propylamino) benzoic acid (NPPB) applied at a concentration of 10 microM. 3. Cells loaded with Cs acetate patch solution and bathed in medium containing 4 mM Ca2+ also had prolonged Ca(2+)-dependent tail currents, however these smaller tail currents were insensitive to NPPB. Release of Ca2+ from intracellular stores by caffeine gave rise to sustained inward currents in cells loaded with Cs acetate. Both Ca(2+)-activated tail currents and caffeine-induced inward currents recorded from cells loaded with Cs acetate were attenuated by Tris based recording media, and had reversal potentials positive to 0 mV suggesting activity of Ca(2+)-activated cation channels.4. Our data may reflect (a) different degrees of association between Ca2+-activated channels with voltage-gated Ca2+ channels, (b) distinct relationships between channels and intracellular Ca2" stores and Ca2+ homeostatic mechanisms, (c) regulation of Ca2+-activated channels by second messengers, and (d) varying channel sensitivity to Ca2 , in the cell body of DRG neurones.