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Keywords:

  • dopamine receptors;
  • electrophysiology;
  • glutamate;
  • mouse

Abstract

Striatal medium-sized spiny neurons (MSSNs) receive glutamatergic inputs modulated presynaptically and postsynaptically by dopamine. Mice expressing the gene for enhanced green fluorescent protein as a reporter gene to identify MSSNs containing D1 or D2 receptor subtypes were used to examine dopamine modulation of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents (sEPSCs) in slices and postsynaptic N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) and α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) currents in acutely isolated cells. The results demonstrated dopamine receptor-specific modulation of sEPSCs. Dopamine and D1 agonists increased sEPSC frequency in D1 receptor-expressing MSSNs (D1 cells), whereas dopamine and D2 agonists decreased sEPSC frequency in D2 receptor-expressing MSSNs (D2 cells). These effects were fully (D1 cells) or partially (D2 cells) mediated through retrograde signaling via endocannabinoids. A cannabinoid 1 receptor (CB1R) agonist and a blocker of anandamide transporter prevented the D1 receptor-mediated increase in sEPSC frequency in D1 cells, whereas a CB1R antagonist partially blocked the decrease in sEPSC frequency in D2 cells. At the postsynaptic level, low concentrations of a D1 receptor agonist consistently increased NMDA and AMPA currents in acutely isolated D1 cells, whereas a D2 receptor agonist decreased these currents in acutely isolated D2 cells. These results show that both glutamate release and postsynaptic excitatory currents are regulated in opposite directions by activation of D1 or D2 receptors. The direction of this regulation is also specific to D1 and D2 cells. We suggest that activation of postsynaptic dopamine receptors controls endocannabinoid mobilization, acting on presynaptic CB1Rs, thus modulating glutamate release differently in glutamate terminals projecting to D1 and D2 cells.