Muscarinic acetylcholine neurotransmission enhances the late phase of long term potentiation in the hippocampal prefrontal cortex pathway of rats in vivo: a possible involvement of monoaminergic systems.

Publication: Neuroscience
Publication Date: 2008
Study Author(s): Lopes Aguiar, C;Romcy-Pereira, R Neves;Escorsim Szawka, R;Galvis-Alonso, O Yineth;Anselmo-Franci, J Aparecida;Pereira Leite, J;
Institution: Department of Neurology, Psychiatry and Medical Psychology, Ribeirão Preto School of Medicine, University of São Paulo, Avenida Bandeirantes 3900, Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil.
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The prefrontal cortex is continuously required for working memory processing during wakefulness, but is particularly hypoactivated during sleep and in psychiatric disorders such as Schizophrenia. Ammon's horn CA1 hippocampus subfield (CA1) afferents provide a functional modulatory path that is subjected to synaptic plasticity and a prominent Monoaminergic influence. However, little is known about the muscarinic Cholinergic effects on prefrontal synapses. Here, we investigated the effects of the muscarinic agonist, pilocarpine (PILO), on the induction and maintenance of CA1-medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) long-term potentiation (LTP) as well as on brain monoamine levels. Field evoked responses were recorded in urethane-anesthetized rats during baseline (50 min) and after LTP (130 min), and compared with controls. LTP was induced 20 min after PILO administration (15 mg/kg, i.p.) or vehicle (NaCl 0.15 M, i.p.). In a separate group of animals, the hippocampus and mPFC were microdissected 20 min after PILO injection and used to quantify monoamine levels. Our results show that PILO potentiates the late-phase of mPFC LTP without affecting either post-tetanic potentiation or early LTP (20 min). This effect was correlated with a significant decrease in relative delta (1-4 Hz) power and an increase in sigma (10-15 Hz) and gamma (25-40 Hz) powers in CA1. Monoamine levels were specifically altered in the mPFC. We observed a decrease in dopamine, 5-HT, 5-hydroxyindolacetic acid and noradrenaline levels, with no changes in 3,4-hydroxyphenylacetic acid levels. Our data, therefore, suggest that muscarinic activation exerts a boosting effect on mPFC synaptic plasticity and possibly on mPFC-dependent memories, associated to monoaminergic changes.
PMID: 18455317

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