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Keywords:

  • brain slice;
  • hippocampus;
  • NR2B receptors;
  • P2X4 receptors;
  • plasticity;
  • whole-cell recording

Abstract

P2X4 receptors are calcium-permeable cation channels gated by extracellular ATP. They are found close to subsynaptic sites on hippocampal CA1 neurons. We compared features of synaptic strengthening between wild-type and P2X4 knockout mice (21–26 days old). Potentiation evoked by a tetanic presynaptic stimulus (100 Hz, 1 s) paired with postsynaptic depolarization was less in P2X4−/− mice than in wild-type mice (230 vs. 50% potentiation). Paired-pulse ratios and the amplitude and frequency of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) were not different between wild-type and knockout mice. Prior hyperpolarization (ten 3 s pulses to −120 mV at 0.17 Hz) potentiated the amplitude of spontaneous EPSCs in wild-type mice, but not in P2X4−/− mice; this potentiation was not affected by nifedipine, but was abolished by 10 mm 1,2-bis(o-aminophenoxy)ethane-N,N,N′,N′-tetra-acetic acid (BAPTA) in the recording pipette. The amplitude of N-methyl-d-aspartate EPSCs (in 6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione, 10 or 30 μm, at −100 mV) facilitated during 20 min recording in magnesium-free solution. In wild-type mice, this facilitation of the N-methyl-d-aspartate EPSC was reduced by about 50% by intracellular BAPTA (10 mm), ifenprodil (3 μm) or 4-(4-fluorophenyl)-2-(4-methylsulphinylphenyl)-5-(4-pyridyl)1H-imidazole (5 μm). In P2X4−/− mice, the facilitation was much less, and was unaffected by intracellular BAPTA, ifenprodil (3 μm) or mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase inhibitor 4-(4-fluorophenyl)-2-(4-methylsulphinylphenyl)-5-(4-pyridyl)1H-imidazole (5 μm). This suggests that the absence of P2X4 receptors limits the incorporation of NR2B subunits into synaptic N-methyl-d-aspartate receptors.