Muscarinic inhibition of glutamatergic transmissions onto rat magnocellular basal forebrain neurons in a thin-slice preparation. Academic Article uri icon


  • We have examined excitatory and inhibitory transmission in visually identified rat magnocellular basal forebrain neurons using whole-cell patch-clamp recordings in a thin-slice preparation of the rat brain. In most cells, spontaneous excitatory and inhibitory synaptic activities could be recorded from their resting membrane potential. Following focal stimulation within the basal forebrain nucleus or directly onto visualized neighbouring neurons, postsynaptic currents were elicited in magnocellular basal forebrain cells held at -70 mb (a value close to their resting membrane potential). The synaptic responses were complex, consisting either mainly of excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs), or inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs), or an EPSC-IPSC sequence. The EPSC component was consistent with the activation of AMPA/KA receptors, as it could be selectively blocked by CNQX. The IPSC component resulted in the activation of GAGAA receptors, and could be blocked by bicuculline. Since GABA-mediated trasmissions were not frequently recorded, we focused on the glutamate-mediated transmission. Studies using specific calcium channel blockers suggested that both omega-conotoxin GVIA-sensitive and omega-agatoxin VIA-sensitive calcium channels contribute to the glutamatergic transmission onto magnocellular basal forebrain neurons. Carbachol (0.3-30 microM) had no observable effect on holding current, but produced a dose-dependent inhibition of the amplitude of evoked EPSCs. This cholinergic modulation was mediated by muscarinic receptors, as it could be antagonized by atropine. The inhibitory effect of carbachol on the amplitude of EPSCs could be significantly antagonized by 100 nM methoctramine, an M2-receptor antagonist. In contrast, only a small degree of antagonism could be obtained with pirenzepine, and M1-muscarinic receptor antagonist, when present at relatively high concentration of 1 microM. Moreover, the action of carbachol was presynaptic, since the frequency of miniature postsynaptic currents was reduced without affecting their amplitude. In conclusion, the present findings indicate that glutamate-mediated transmission onto magnocellular basal forebrain neurons appeared to involve both N- and P/Q-type calcium channels, and that muscarinic modulation of glutamatergic transmission to MBF neurons is mediated by a presynaptic M2-muscarinic receptor subtypes.

published proceedings

  • Eur J Neurosci

author list (cited authors)

  • Sim, J. A., & Griffith, W. H.

citation count

  • 38

complete list of authors

  • Sim, JA||Griffith, WH

publication date

  • May 1996