Mechanisms underlying kainate receptor-mediated disinhibition in the hippocampus

M. Frerking, C. C.H. Petersen, R. A. Nicoll

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114 Scopus citations


Kainate (KA) receptor activation depresses stimulus-evoked γ- aminobutyric acid (GABA-mediated) synaptic transmission onto CA1 pyramidal cells of the hippocampus and simultaneously increases the frequency of spontaneous GABA release through an increase in interneuronal spiking. To determine whether these two effects are independent, we examined the mechanism by which KA receptor activation depresses the stimulus-evoked, inhibitory postsynaptic current (IPSC). Bath application of the α-amino-3- hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole proprionic acid (AMPA)/KA receptor agonist KA in the presence of the AMPA receptor antagonist GYKI 53655 caused a large increase in spontaneous GABA release and a coincident depression of the evoked IPSC. The depressant action on the evoked IPSC was reduced, but not abolished, by the GABAB receptor antagonist SCH 50911, suggesting that the KA-induced increase in spontaneous GABA release depresses the evoked IPSC through activation of presynaptic GABAB receptors. KA had no resolvable effect on the potassium-induced increase in miniature IPSC frequency, suggesting that KA does not act through a direct effect on the release machinery or presynaptic calcium influx. KA caused a decrease in pyramidal cell input resistance, which was reduced by GABA(A) receptor antagonists. KA also caused a reduction in the size of responses to iontophoretically applied GABA, which was indistinguishable from the SCH 50911-resistant, residual depression of the evoked IPSC. These results suggest that KA receptor activation depresses the evoked IPSC indirectly by increasing interneuronal spiking and GABA release, leading to activation of presynaptic GABA(B) receptors, which depress GABA release, and postsynaptic GABA(A) receptors, which increase passive shunting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12917-12922
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number22
StatePublished - Oct 26 1999
Externally publishedYes

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