Biphasic modulation by galanin of excitatory synaptic transmission in substantia gelatinosa neurons of adult rat spinal cord slices

Hai-Yuan Yue, Tsugumi Fujita, Eiichi Kumamoto
Journal of Neurophysiology 2011, 105 (5): 2337-49
Although intrathecally administrated galanin modulates nociceptive transmission in a biphasic manner, this has not been fully examined previously. In the present study, the action of galanin on synaptic transmission in the substantia gelatinosa (SG) neurons of adult rat spinal cord slices was examined, using the whole cell patch-clamp technique. Galanin concentration-dependently increased the frequency of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic current (EPSC; EC(50) = 2.0 nM) without changing the amplitude, indicating a presynaptic effect. This effect was reduced in a Ca(2+)-free, or voltage-gated Ca(2+) channel blocker La(3+)-containing Krebs solution and was produced by a galanin type-2/3 receptor (GalR2/R3) agonist, galanin 2-11, but not by a galanin type-1 receptor (GalR1) agonist, M617. Galanin also concentration-dependently produced an outward current at -70 mV (EC(50) = 44 nM), although this appeared to be contaminated by a small inward current. This outward current was mimicked by M617, but not by galanin 2-11. Moreover, galanin reduced monosynaptic Aδ-fiber- and C-fiber-evoked EPSC amplitude; the former reduction was larger than the latter. A similar action was produced by galanin 2-11, but not by M617. Spontaneous and focally evoked inhibitory (GABAergic and glycinergic) transmission was unaffected by galanin. These findings indicate that galanin at lower concentrations enhances the spontaneous release of l-glutamate from nerve terminals by Ca(2+) entry from the external solution following GalR2/R3 activation, whereas galanin at higher concentrations also produces a membrane hyperpolarization by activating GalR1. Moreover, galanin reduces l-glutamate release onto SG neurons from primary afferent fibers by activating GalR2/R3. These effects could partially contribute to the behavioral effect of galanin.

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