Patch-clamp Analysis of Synaptic Transmission to Cerebellar Purkinje Cells of Prion Protein Knockout Mice

Authors


  • Acknowledgements

Correspondence to: Prof. Dr H. A. Kretzschmar, as above

Abstract

The prion protein (PrP) plays a pivotal role in transmissible spongiform encephalopathies such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans and scrapie and bovine spongiform encephalopathy in animals. Previous experiments have suggested that the normal cellular prion protein (PrPC) is involved in synaptic function in the hippocampus. Here, we utilized the controlled recording conditions of the patch-clamp technique to investigate the synaptic function of prion protein in cerebellar Purkinje cells. By performing whole-cell and outside-out patch-clamp experiments in thin slices, we investigated synaptic transmission in prion protein knockout mice (PrP-null) and control animals. In PrP-null mice, the kinetics of GABA- and glutamate receptor-mediated currents showed no significant deviation from those in control animals. In contrast to previous results in hippocampal neurons, our findings support the view that synaptic transmission is unimpaired in prion protein-deficient mice.

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