Role of NMDA, non-NMDA, and GABA receptors in signal propagation in the amygdala formation.
Although the synaptic physiology of the amygdala has been studied with single neuron recordings, the properties of the networks between the various nuclei have resisted characterization because of the limitations of field recording in a neuronally diffuse structure. We addressed this issue in the rat amygdala complex in vitro by using a photodiode array coupled with a voltage-sensitive dye. Low-intensity single pulse stimulation of the lateral amygdala nucleus produced a complex multi-phasic potential. This signal propagated to the basolateral nucleus and the amygdalostriatal transition zone but not to the central nucleus. The local potential, which depended on both synaptic responses and activation of voltage-dependent ion channels, was reduced in amplitude by the non-N-methyl-D-aspartate (non-NMDA) glutamate receptor antagonist 6,7-dinitroquinoxaline (DNQX) and reduced to a lesser extent by the NMDA glutamate receptor antagonist D-2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid (D-APV). We next characterized the less complex signals that propagated to more distal regions with or without the addition of the GABA receptor antagonist bicuculline (BIC). BIC alone greatly increased the signal propagation and permitted activation of previously silent areas within the amygdala. DNQX blocked signal propagation to amygdala regions outside of La, even in the presence of BIC, whereas D-APV had minimal effects on these distal signals. These data represent several novel findings: the characterization of the multi-component potential near the site of stimulation, the gating of signal propagation within the amygdala by GABAergic inhibition, the critical role of non-NMDA receptor-mediated depolarization in signal propagation, and the lack of a role for NMDA receptors in maintaining propagation.
Wang, C; Wilson, WA; Moore, SD
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