The role of group III metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) in modulating excitatory synaptic transmission was investigated in the rat entorhinal cortex (EC) in vitro. AMPA receptor-mediated excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) were recorded in the whole cell configuration of the patch-clamp technique from visually identified neurons in layers V and II. In layer V, bath application of the specific group III mGluR agonist L(+)-2-amino-4-phosphonobutyric acid (L-AP4, 500 mu M) resulted in a marked facilitation of both spontaneous and activity-independent "miniature" (s/ mEPSC) event frequency. Thr facilitatory effect of L-AP4 (100 mu M) on sEPSC frequency prevailed in the presence of DL-2-amino-5-phosphonopentanoic acid (100 mu M) but was abolished by the group III antagonist (RS)-cyclopropyl-4-phosphonophenylglycine (20 mu M). These data confirmed that group III mGluRs, and not N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors were involved in the response to L-AP4. Bath application of the specific mGluR4a agonist (1S,3R,4S)-1-aminocyclopentane-1,2, 4-tricarboxylic acid (20 mu M) also had a facilitatory effect on sEPSC frequency, suggesting involvement of mGluR4a. In layer II neurons, L-AP4 caused a reduction in sEPSC frequency but did not affect mEPSCs recorded in the presence of tetrodotoxin. These findings suggest that a group III mGluR with mGluR4a-like pharmacology is involved in modulating synaptic transmission in layer V cells of the EC. The effect on mEPSCs suggests that this receptor is located presynaptically and that its activation results in a direct facilitation of glutamate release. This novel facilitatory effect is specific to layer V and, to our knowledge, is the first report of a direct facilitatory action of group III mGluRs on synaptic transmission. In layer II, L-AP4 had an inhibitory effect on glutamate release similar to that reported in other brain regions.
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Journal of Neurophysiology|
|Publication status||Published - 2000|