• long-lasting neuromodulation;
  • neuropeptide;
  • spinal cord;
  • tachykinin


Bath application of the tachykinin neuropeptide substance P (1 μm) for 10 min causes long-lasting (> 24 h) modulation of the frequency and regularity of NMDA-evoked locomotor bursts in the lamprey. The change in burst frequency has an induction phase (< 2 h), which depends on the potentiation of NMDA responses and an increase in intracellular calcium levels, and a maintenance phase (> 2 h), that is blocked by translational protein synthesis inhibitors. Here, the maintenance phase has been examined further. Unlike translation inhibitors, the transcription inhibitors actinomycin D and 5,6-dichlorobenzimidazole riboside (DRB) failed to reverse the change in burst frequency 2–3 h after substance P application, suggesting that the protein synthesized at this time does not require de novo RNA synthesis. Transcription inhibitors, however, reversed the change in burst frequency 15–24 h after substance P application, as did brefeldin A, which disrupts the Golgi complex and thus interferes with the post-translational transport of proteins. The change in burst regularity was unaffected by transcription or translation inhibitors, but was partially reversed by protein kinase A inhibitors applied 2.5–8 h after substance P. The glycoprotein synthesis inhibitor 2-deoxygalactose did not affect the changes in burst frequency or burst regularity. These results suggest that there are two phases to the maintenance of the change in burst frequency: an intermediate protein-, but not RNA-, synthesis-dependent phase, and a final RNA-synthesis-dependent phase. The change in burst regularity is protein-synthesis-independent, but may depend on activation of protein kinase A for at least 8 h after substance P application.