Evidence from experiments performed in turtle and fish retina suggests that dopamine (DA) modulates the permeability of gap junctions. The present experiment was aimed at determining if DA has a similar role in the mammalian neostriatum. Adults rats received one of four treatments: Unilateral electrolytic substantia nigra lesions, unilateral injection of 6‐hydroxydopamine (6‐OHDA) into the substantia nigra, unilateral neocortical aspiration, or no treatment. After 3–5 weeks, neostriata from both sides of the brain were prepared for in vitro intracellular recordings. Recorded neurons (N α 150) were filled with Lucifer Yellow (LY), a low molecular weight dye that crosses gap junctions. In animals with electrolytic nigral lesions, dye‐coupling in the ipsilateral neostriatum occurred after 38% of the intracellular injections. After 6‐OHDA lesions, 19% of the injections produced dye‐coupling in the ipsilateral neostriatum. This difference may have been accounted for by the fact that electrolytic lesions produced a greater degree of DA loss than 6‐OHDA injections. Both of these percentages contrast with the very small percentage of dye‐coupling found in intact animals or in animals with neocortical lesions. Dye‐coupling occurred only between medium‐sized spiny cells. No morphological differences between dye‐coupled and non‐dye‐coupled cells were observed with light microscopy. Overall, passive and active electrophysiological properties of dye‐coupled and single neurons were similar. The results suggest that DA may function in the neostriatum to control permeability of gap junctions.
Synapse – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 1989
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