GABA b-mediated inhibition of multiple modes of glutamate release in the nucleus of the solitary tract

Jessica A. Fawley, James H. Peters, Michael C. Andresen

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25 Scopus citations


In the caudal portions of the solitary tract (ST) nucleus, primary sensory afferents fall into two broad classes based on the expression of transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) receptors. Both afferent classes (TRPV1+/-) have indistinguishable glutamate release mechanisms for ST-evoked excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs). However, TRPV1+ terminals release additional glutamate from a unique, TRPV1-operated vesicle pool that is temperature sensitive and facilitated by ST activity to generate asynchronous EPSCs. This study tested whether presynaptic _-aminobutyric acid (GABA) B receptors inhibit both the evoked and TRPV1-operated release mechanisms on second-order ST nucleus neurons. In horizontal slices, shocks activated single ST axons and evoked the timeinvariant (latency jitter <200 μs), glutamatergic EPSCs, which identified second-order neurons. Gabazine eliminated GABA A responses in all recordings. The GABA B agonist baclofen inhibited the amplitude of ST-EPSCs from both TRPV1+ and TRPV1-afferents with a similar EC 50 (~1.2 μM). In TTX, GABA B activation decreased miniature EPSC (mEPSC) rates but not amplitudes, suggesting presynaptic actions downstream from terminal excitability. With calcium entry through voltageactivated calcium channels blocked by cadmium, baclofen reduced mEPSC frequency, indicating that GABA B reduced vesicle release by TRPV1-dependent calcium entry. GABA B activation also reduced temperature-evoked increases in mEPSC frequency, which relies on TRPV1. Our studies indicate that GABA B G protein-coupled receptors are uniformly distributed across all ST primary afferent terminals and act at multiple stages of the excitation-release cascades to suppress both action potential-triggered and TRPV1-coupled glutamate transmission pathways. Moreover, the segregated release cascades within TRPV1+ ST primary afferents represent independent, potential targets for differential modulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1833-1840
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • A-fiber
  • Asynchronous release
  • Baclofen
  • C-fiber
  • TRPV1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Physiology


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