Journal of Neurophysiology

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GABAB receptor activation causes a depression of low- and high-voltage-activated Ca2+ currents, postinhibitory rebound, and postspike afterhyperpolarization in lamprey neurons

T. Matsushima, J. Tegner, R. H. Hill, S. Grillner


1. Activation of gamma-aminobutyric acid-B (GABAB) receptors during N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-induced fictive locomotor activity in the lamprey spinal cord reduces the burst frequency and changes the intersegmental coordination. Presynaptic inhibition of both the excitatory and inhibitory synaptic transmission from spinal premotor interneurons occurs through GABAB receptor activation. To further analyze the cellular mechanisms underlying the GABABergic modulation of the locomotor network, the present study investigates somatodendritic effects of GABAB receptor activation on interneurons and motoneurons in the lamprey spinal cord in vitro using single-electrode current- and voltage-clamp techniques. 2. High- (HVA) and low- (LVA) voltage-activated calcium currents were studied with single-electrode voltage clamp when Na+ and K+ currents were blocked--using tetrodotoxin, tetraethylammonium (TEA), and CsCl electrodes--after substituting Ca2+ with Ba2+. Cobalt-sensitive inward barium currents, activated at -50 mV, became larger when the holding potential was set to a more hyperpolarized level, thus suggesting the existence of an LVA calcium current. The presence of cobalt-sensitive inward barium currents activated at -30 and -10 mV suggests the existence of an HVA calcium current. GABAB receptor activation (baclofen) reduced the peak amplitude of both the LVA and HVA Ca2+ component. 3. The late phase of the afterhyperpolarization (AHP), which follows the action potential, was reduced in amplitude by cobalt, thus lending further support to the notion that the Ca2+ influx, and the subsequent activation of Ca(2+)-dependent K+ channels (KCa2+), constitutes the major part of the AHP generation. Application of the GABAB agonist baclofen also reduced the peak amplitude of the AHP in interneurons and motoneurons, and this reduction was counteracted by the GABAB antagonist 2(OH)saclofen. Baclofen reduced the duration of action potentials broadened by TEA, thus suggesting that the Ca2+ inflow was reduced. Intracellular injection of the GTP analogue GTP gamma S also reduced the duration of the action potential and the peak amplitude of the AHP in TEA, thus supporting the notion that a GTP-binding protein (G-protein)-mediated GABAB receptor activation reduced the calcium inflow, leading to less activation of KCa channels and, consequently, to a smaller peak amplitude of the AHP. 4. Baclofen suppressed the subthreshold depolarization induced by a depolarizing current pulse injection without affecting either the spike threshold or the resting membrane conductance.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)