Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Chemistry and Pharmacology
Abstract We recorded whole-cell Cl− currents in cultured embryonic rat thalamic neurons by brief applications of GABA or the structural analogue muscimol. In 17 of 141 neurons (12%) the Cl− current persisted for a minute or more after the pipette was removed from the bath. Cl− current never persisted after muscimol exposure even in those cells exhibiting persistent GABA-activated currents (PGC). The half decay times (T50) of PGCs were exponentially and asymptotically related to the duration of GABA exposure and could be interrupted or completely aborted by low-pressure application of saline. PGCs were insensitive to membrane potential, to Tiagabine, a nipecotic acid analogue known to block GABA uptake, and persisted in Ca o 2+ -free medium. Fluctuation analysis revealed that PGCs exhibited inferred Cl− channel properties whose kinetic components and estimated average elementary conductance showed no significant difference from those estimated during GABA exposure. The relative contribution of low frequency components was consistently reduced and that of high frequency components modestly increased during PGC compared to those recorded during GABA exposure. Taken together, the results suggest the existence of a superficial compartment in these embryonic neurons that can momentarily accumulate and release exogenous GABA.
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