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Effects of kainic and other amino acids on synaptic excitation in rat hippocampal slices: 1. Extracellular analysis

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Summary

The actions of kainic acid on excitatory synaptic responses in rat hippocampal slices have been investigated and compared with the effects of other excitatory amino acids. Kainate administered iontophoretically or via the superfusate produced a large and long lasting potentiation of the population spike evoked in the CA1 region by Schaffer collateral-commissural stimulation. This potentation was associated with a reduction in the field EPSP recorded in the dendritic region (stratum radiatum) but with no change in the presynaptic fibre volley or with any long lasting alteration in the antidromic population spike. The results suggest that one effect of kainate may be to produce dendritic depolarisation in CA1 pyramidal neurones.

Kainate in equivalent amounts elicited similar potentiations of the population spike recorded in the dentate gyrus in response to either lateral or medial perforant path stimulation. Smaller amounts of kainate than those required to affect either CA1 or dentate pathways were able to potentiate the mossy fibre-evoked population spike in the CA3 region.

Folic acid, which shares kainate's ability to produce seizures and distant brain damage when injected into the brain, elicited similar potentiations of synaptic excitation. Higher doses of folate than of kainate were required which is consistent with its weaker epileptogenic actions in vivo. In contrast, N-methyl-aspartate, ibotenate, L-glutamate and L-aspartate were unable to mimic kainate's potentiating action. In higher doses the substances depressed the population spike for long periods. These data suggest that potentiation of synaptic events may underlie the ability of kainate (and folate) to elicit seizures and distant brain damage.

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Correspondence to Prof. Dr. H. McLennan.

Additional information

Supported by a grant from the Medical Research Council of Canada to H.McL.; G.L.C. is in receipt of a Killam Fellowship and S. J.K. of a Studentship of the MRC

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Collingridge, G.L., Kehl, S.J., Loo, R. et al. Effects of kainic and other amino acids on synaptic excitation in rat hippocampal slices: 1. Extracellular analysis. Exp Brain Res 52, 170–178 (1983). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00236625

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Key words

  • Kainic acid
  • Folic acid
  • Neurotoxins
  • Hippocampal slices
  • Synaptic potentiation