Journal of Neurophysiology

The actions of hydrogen sulfide on dorsal raphe serotonergic neurons in vitro

S. B. Kombian, R. J. Reiffenstein, W. F. Colmers


1. The actions of hydrogen sulfide (HS-) on membrane and synaptic properties of dorsal raphe (DR) serotonergic cells were studied in the in vitro brain stem slice preparation, using intracellular sharp microelectrode and whole-cell recording techniques. 2. Sulfide produced two reversible, concentration-dependent effects on resting membrane properties of DR cells: (1) 14% responded to HS- with a slow onset hyperpolarization or an outward current accompanied by an conductance increase in voltage clamp (holding potential = -60 mV; monophasic outward cell) or (2) 39% responded with a rapid-onset depolarization corresponding to a weakly voltage-dependent inward current showing little or no change in conductance between -115 and -40 mV (monophasic inward cell). In addition, 29.5% showed both the above effects, responding first with a rapid-onset depolarization and then a sustained hyperpolarization. Such cells had membrane currents very similar to those seen in the monophasic inward and outward cells (biphasic cells). Finally, 17.5% of DR cells had no measurable postsynaptic membrane response to HS-. 3. The outward current induced in the presence of HS- had a reversal potential of about -90 mV when recorded either with 2 M KCl or 145 mM potassium gluconate in the pipette and was accompanied by an increase in conductance, suggesting that it is caused by an elevated conductance to K+. 4. This current was sensitive to the removal of external Ca2+ and blockade by Cd2+, suggesting that it is activated by an elevation in internal [Ca2+]. It was also blocked by apamin or Ba2+ and Cs+, both of which revealed an underlying inward current. The outward current was insensitive to the application of a large variety of antagonists to other known voltage- and calcium-dependent K+ channels. Elevation of intracellular ATP using a patch pipette did not prevent the activation of the outward current. 5. HS- reversibly suppressed a voltage-dependent outward current activated in the voltage range of -50 to -40 mV. This current was also blocked by 10 mM tetraethylammonium, suggesting that HS- suppresses the delayed rectifier in DR cells. 6. The inward current could be observed in the presence of HS- not only in monophasic inward cells but also in monophasic outward or biphasic cells whose outward current was selectively blocked. This inward current was sensitive to the removal of extracellular Ca2+, or the the application of relatively low concentrations of Cd2+, suggesting that it is carried by Ca2+. Both these manipulations also blocked the outward current in monophasic outward or biphasic cells.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)