The conductance underlying the parallel fibre slow EPSP in rat cerebellar Purkinje neurones studied with photolytic release of L‐glutamate
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1. Tetanic stimulation of parallel fibres (PFs) produces a slow EPSP (sEPSP) or slow EPSC (sEPSC) in Purkinje neurones (PNs), mediated by type 1 metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR1). The conductance change underlying the sEPSP was investigated with rapid photolytic release of L-glutamate from nitroindolinyl (NI)-caged glutamate with ionotropic glutamate receptors blocked, and showed a slow mGluR1-activated cation channel. 2. In cerebellar slices rapid photolytic release (t (1/2) < 0.7 ms) of 7--70 microM L-glutamate on PNs voltage clamped at -65 mV activated first a transient inward current, peaking in 8 ms, followed by a slow inward current with time course similar to the PF sEPSP, peaking at -1 nA in 700 ms. 3. The initial current was inhibited by 300 microM threo-hydroxyaspartate (THA) and did not reverse as the potential was made positive up to +50 mV, suggesting activation of electrogenic glutamate uptake. 4. The slow current was inhibited reversibly by 1 mM (R,S)-MCPG or the non-competitive mGluR1 antagonist CPCCOEt (20 microM), indicating activation of metabotropic type 1 glutamate receptors. The mGluR current was associated with increases of input conductance and membrane current noise, and reversed close to 0 mV, indicating activation of channels permeant to Na(+) and K(+). 5. The sEPSC was not blocked by Cd(2+), Co(2+), Mg(2+) or Gd(3+) ions, by the inhibitor of hyperpolarisation-activated current (I(H)) ZD7288, or by the purinoceptor inhibitor PPADS. Activation was not affected by inhibitors of phospholipase C (PLC) or protein kinase C (PKC), nor mimicked by photorelease of InsP(3) or Ca(2+). The results show that mGluR1 in PNs produces a slow activation of cation-permeable ion channels which is not mediated by PLC activation, Ca(2+) release from stores, or via the activation of PKC.
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