Dual modulation of gabaergic transmission by metabotropic glutamate receptors in rat ventral tegmental area

F. Zheng, S. W. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The effects of metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) activation on non-dopamine (putative GABAergic) neurons and inhibitory synaptic transmission in the ventral tegmental area were examined using intracellular recordings from rat midbrain slices. Perfusion of (±)-1-aminocyclopentane-trans-1,3-dicarboxylic acid (t-ACPD; agonist for group I and II mGluRs), but not L-amino-4-phosphonobutyric acid (L-AP4; agonist for group III mGluRs), produced membrane depolarization (current clamp) and inward current (voltage clamp) in non-dopamine neurons. The t-ACPD-induced depolarization was concentration-dependent (concentration producing 50% maximal depolarization [EC50]=6.1±2.5 μM), and was blocked by the antagonist (±)-α-methyl-4-carboxyphenylglycine, but not by tetrodotoxin and ionotropic glutamate-receptor antagonists. The t-ACPD-evoked responses were mimicked comparably by selective group I mGluR agonist (RS)-3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine (DHPG). Furthermore, the DHPG-induced depolarization in non-dopamine neurons was greatly reduced by mGluR1-specific antagonist 7(hydroxyimino)cyclopropachromen-1a-carboxylate ethyl ester. When recorded in dopamine neurons, the frequency of spontaneous GABAA receptor-mediated inhibitory postsynaptic potentials was increased by t-ACPD but not L-AP4. However, the amplitude of evoked inhibitory postsynaptic currents in dopamine neurons was reduced by all three group mGluR agonists. These results reveal a dual modulation of mGluR activation on inhibitory transmission in midbrain ventral tegmental area: enhancing putative GABAergic neuronal excitability and thus potentiating tonic inhibitory synaptic transmission while reducing evoked synaptic transmission at inhibitory terminals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-460
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 27 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Midbrain
  • Neuronal excitation
  • Non-dopamine neurons
  • Synaptic inhibition
  • t-ACPD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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