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Dopamine depresses cholinergic oscillatory network activity in rat hippocampus


: Dr Torsten Weiss, as above.


The dopaminergic neuronal system is implicated in cognitive processes in a variety of brain regions including the mesolimbic system. We have investigated whether dopamine also affects synchronized network activity in the hippocampus, which has been ascribed to play a pivotal role in memory formation. Gamma frequency (20–80 Hz) oscillations were induced by the cholinergic agonist carbachol. Oscillatory activity was examined in area CA3 of Wistar rat hippocampal slices, employing field potential and intracellular recordings. Application of carbachol initiated synchronized population activity in the gamma band at 40 Hz. Induced gamma activity persisted over hours and required GABAA receptors. Dopamine reversibly decreased the integrated gamma band power of the carbachol rhythm by 62%, while its frequency was not changed. By contrast, individual pyramidal cells recorded during carbachol-induced field gamma activity exhibited theta frequency (5–15 Hz) membrane potential oscillations that were not altered by dopamine. The dopamine effect on the field gamma activity was mimicked by the D1 receptor agonist SKF-383393 and partially antagonized by the D1 antagonist SCH-23390. Conversely, the D2 receptor agonist quinpirole failed to depress the oscillations, and the D2 antagonist sulpiride did not prevent the suppressive dopamine effect. The data indicate that dopamine strongly depresses cholinergic gamma oscillations in area CA3 of rat hippocampus by activation of D1-like dopamine receptors and that this effect is most likely mediated via impairment of interneurons involved in generation and maintenance of the carbachol-induced network rhythm.