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Nitric oxide dependence of glutamate-mediated modulation at a vertebrate neuromuscular junction

Authors

  • Audrée Pinard,

    1. Groupe de recherche sur le système nerveux central and Département de physiologie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada H3C 3J7
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  • Richard Robitaille

    1. Groupe de recherche sur le système nerveux central and Département de physiologie, Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada H3C 3J7
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Dr R. Robitaille, as above.
E-mail: richard.robitaille@umontreal.ca

Abstract

Recent evidence has revealed a contribution of glutamate in the stereotyped cholinergic neuromuscular transmission. Indeed, receptors, transporters and glutamate itself are present at the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) while glutamate activation of metabotropic receptors (mGluRs) decreases synaptic transmission and mediates depression through presynaptic mechanisms. However, we have shown that the mGluRs are located postsynaptically, inconsistent with the presynaptic action of glutamate. In the present study, we tested whether nitric oxide (NO) serves as a retrograde messenger mediating the distant effect of glutamate. Glutamate or an mGluR agonist [trans-(1S,3R)-aminocyclopentanedicarboxylic acid (ACPD)] failed to reduce synaptic transmission in the presence of an NOS inhibitor (3Br7NINa, 3-bromo-7-nitroindazole sodium salt). Moreover, application of 3Br7NINa precluded the effect of the mGluR antagonist MCPG [(S)-alpha-methyl-4-carboxyphenylglycine] on high-frequency-induced synaptic depression. Iontophoretic injections of BAPTA [1,2-bis(2-aminophenoxy)ethane-N,N,N′-tetraacetic acid] in muscle fibres abolished the effect of trans-ACPD on synaptic transmission and blocked the mGluR component of depression, indicating the involvement of muscular calcium in mGluR-induced depression. Also, the use of this protocol unveiled a muscular calcium-dependent potentiating pathway dependent on cyclo-oxygenase activity. In addition, local application of trans-ACPD induced an increase in NO production by muscle fibres visualized with the indicator DAF-FM (4-amino-5-methylamino-2′,7′-difluorofluorescein). This was prevented by 3Br7NINa or the iontophoretic injection of BAPTA. Moreover, motor nerve stimulation (50 Hz, 30 s) induced an increase in DAF-FM fluorescence that was abolished by 3Br7NINa and MCPG. Hence, the data suggest that the production of the retrograde molecule NO depends on the postsynaptic calcium-dependent activation of nitric oxide synthase following mGluRs stimulation and is essential for the glutamatergic modulation of synaptic efficacy and plasticity at the NMJ.

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