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Ethanol-induced modulation of synaptic output from the dorsolateral striatum in rat is regulated by cholinergic interneurons.

Journal article
Authors Louise Adermark
Rhona B. C. Clarke
Bo Söderpalm
Mia Ericson
Published in Neurochemistry international
Volume 58
Issue 6
Pages 693-9
ISSN 1872-9754
Publication year 2011
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Pages 693-9
Language en
Keywords Animals, Corpus Striatum, drug effects, physiology, Ethanol, pharmacology, Female, Interneurons, physiology, Male, Rats, Rats, Wistar, Receptors, Cholinergic, metabolism, Synapses, drug effects, metabolism
Subject categories Psychiatry


The striatum is the largest input nucleus to the basal ganglia and associated with reward-based behavior. We assessed whether acute ethanol (EtOH) exposure could modulate synaptic efficacy in the dorsolateral striatum of juvenile Wistar rats. Since acute EtOH administration can both increase and decrease the probability of release of different neurotransmitters from synaptic terminals, we used field potential recordings to evaluate the net effect of EtOH on striatal output. We showed that 50mM EtOH but not 20, 80 or 100mM, depresses population spike (PS) amplitude in the dorsolateral striatum. This depression of synaptic output is insensitive to the N-methyl-d-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptor inhibitor DL-2-amino-5-phosphonopentanoic acid (AP-5, 50μM), but is blocked in slices treated with glycine receptor antagonists (strychnine, 1μM; PMBA, 50μM), nicotinic acetylcholine receptor antagonists (mecamylamine, 10μM; methyllycaconitine citrate (MLA), 40nM), or GABA(A) receptor inhibitors (picrotoxin, 100μM; bicuculline, 2μM, 20μM). A long-term facilitation of synaptic output, which is more pronounced in slices from adult Wistar rats, is detected following EtOH washout (50, 80, 100mM). This long-term enhancement of PS amplitude is regulated by cholinergic interneurons and completely blocked by mecamylamine, MLA or the non-selective muscarinic antagonist scopolamine (10μM). Administration of 100mM EtOH significantly depresses PS amplitude in scopolamine-treated slices, suggesting that EtOH exerts dual actions on striatal output that are initiated instantly upon drug wash-on. In conclusion, EtOH modulates striatal microcircuitry and neurotransmission in a way that could be of importance for understanding the intoxicating properties as well as the acute reward sensation of EtOH.

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