JOURNAL ARTICLE

[Effects of etomidate on local synaptic transmission in substantia gelatinosa neurons of the adult rat spinal cord]

Zhen Li, Ceng Luo, Yan-Yan Sun, Jun Chen
Sheng Li Xue Bao: [Acta Physiologica Sinica] 2004 June 25, 56 (3): 413-8
15224160
By using blind spinal slice whole-cell patch-clamp technique, we observed the influence of etomidate (ET) on synaptic transmission in substantia gelatinosa neurons of the adult rat spinal cord. Male adult Sprague-Dawley rats (7~8 weeks old) were anaesthetized with urethane (1.2 g/kg, i.p.), and then lumbosacral laminectomy was performed. The lumbosacral spinal cord (L1~S3) was removed and placed in preoxygenated Krebs solution at 1~3 degrees C. After cutting all of the ventral and dorsal roots, the pia-arachnoid membrane was removed. The spinal cord was mounted on a vibrating microslicer and then a 500 microm thick transverse slice was cut. The slice was placed on a nylon mesh in the recording chamber, and then perfused at a rate of 15~20 ml/min with Krebs solution saturated with 95% O2 and 5% CO2, and maintained at 36+/-1 degrees C. Substantia gelatinosa neurons were identified by their location. Under a binocular microscope and with transmitted illumination, the substantia gelatinosa was clearly discernible as a relatively translucent band across the dorsal horn. The resistance of patch clamp electrodes was 8~12 Msigma. Signals were gained by using an Axopatch 200B amplifier with low-passfiltered at 5 kHz, and digitized at 333 kHz with an A/D converter. The results are as follows. (1) To see whether or not ET has any effects on the local miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents (mEPSC), the holding potential was set up at -70 mV. Under such a condition extracellular superfusion was made with 1 micromol/L TTX for 2 min first, which was followed by consistent application of 500 micromol/L ET and 1 micromol/L TTX for 1 min. It was shown that ET did not influence the decay time, frequency and amplitude of mEPSC, when compared to the control. (2) To see whether or not ET has any effects on the local miniature inhibitory postsynaptic currents (mIPSC) mediated by GABA(A) receptor, the holding potential was set up at 0 mV. Under this condition extracellular superfusion was made with 1 micromol/L TTX and 1 micromol/L strychnine, an antagonist of glycine receptor, for 2 min, and then with consistent application of 50 micromol/L ET, 1 micromol/L TTX and 1 micromol/L strychnine for 1 min. ET prolonged the decay time of GABAergic mIPSC by 45.57+/-12.46% (P<0.05), but did not influence the frequency and amplitude of GABAergic mIPSC, when compared with the control. (3) To see whether or not ET has any effects on the local mIPSC mediated by glycine receptor, the holding potential was also set up at 0 mV, and under this condition extracellular superfusion was made with 1 mmol/L TTX and 10 mmol/L bicuculline, an antagonist also set up at 0 mV, and under this condition extracellular superfusion was made with 1 micromol/L TTX and 10 micromol/L bicuculline, an antagonist of GABA(A) receptor, for 2 min, and then with consistent application of 50 micromol/L ET, 1 micromol/L TTX and 10 micromol/L bicuculline for 1 min. ET had no effects on decay time, frequency and amplitude of glycinergic mIPSC. The above-mentioned results show that ET plays anesthetic or analgesic roles by modulating the decay time of GABAergic mIPSC, i.e. by prolonging the mean open time of GABA(A) receptors, however, ET has no direct effect on local excitatory synaptic transmission in substantia gelatinosa neurons of the adult rat spinal cord.

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