Marco Capogna

Mechanism of mu-opioid receptor-mediated presynaptic inhibition in the rat hippocampus in vitro

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1. The electrophysiological action of the mu-opioid receptor-preferring agonist D-Ala2, MePhe4, Met(O)5-ol-enkephalin (FK 33-824) on synaptic transmission has been studied in area CA3 of organotypic rat hippocampal slice cultures. 2. FK 33-824 (1 microM) had no effect on the amplitude of pharmacologically isolated N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) or non-NMDA receptor-mediated EPSPs. 3. FK 33-824 (10 nM to 10 microM) reduced the amplitude of monosynaptic inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs) that were elicited in pyramidal cells with local stimulation after pharmacological blockade of excitatory amino acid receptors. This effect was reversible, dose-dependent, and sensitive to naloxone and the mu-receptor antagonist Cys2,Tyr3,Orn5,Pen7-amide (CTOP). FK 33-824 at 1 microM caused a mean reduction in the amplitude of the monosynaptic IPSP of 70%. 4. Neither delta- nor kappa-receptor-preferring agonists had any effect on excitatory or inhibitory synaptic potentials. 5. The disinhibitory action of FK 33-824 was blocked by incubating the cultures with pertussis toxin (500 ng/ml for 48 h) or by stimulation of protein kinase C with phorbol 12,13-dibutyrate (PDBu, 0.5 microM). 6. The depression of monosynaptic IPSPs by FK 33-824 was unaffected by extracellular application of the K+ channel blockers Ba2+ or Cs+ (1 mM each). 7. FK 33-824 produced a decrease in the frequency of miniature, action potential-independent, spontaneous inhibitory synaptic currents (mIPSCs) recorded with whole-cell voltage-clamp techniques, but did not change their mean amplitude. Application of the Ca2+ channel blocker Cd2+ (100 microM) or of nominally Ca(2+)-free solutions did not alter either the frequency and amplitude of mIPSCs or the reduction of mIPSC frequency induced by FK 33-824. 8. The effect of FK 33-824 on spontaneous mIPSCs was prevented by naloxone, and by incubation of cultures with pertussis toxin. 9. These results indicate that mu-opioid receptors decrease GABA release presynaptically by a G protein-mediated inhibition of the vesicular GABA release process, and not by changes in axon terminal K+ or Ca2+ conductances that are sensitive to extracellular Ba2+, Cs+ or Cd2+.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of Physiology
Volume470
Pages (from-to)539-58
Number of pages20
ISSN0022-3751
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1993
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Analgesics/pharmacology, Animals, Animals, Newborn, Calcium Channels/drug effects, D-Ala(2),MePhe(4),Met(0)-ol-enkephalin/antagonists & inhibitors, Electrophysiology, Enkephalin, D-Penicillamine (2,5)-, Enkephalins/pharmacology, Hippocampus/drug effects, In Vitro Techniques, Membrane Potentials/drug effects, Microelectrodes, Potassium Channels/drug effects, Presynaptic Terminals/drug effects, Rats, Receptors, Opioid, mu/drug effects, Receptors, Presynaptic/drug effects, Second Messenger Systems/drug effects, Synapses/drug effects, gamma-Aminobutyric Acid/metabolism

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