1. We have previously demonstrated that the metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR) agonist (1S,3R)-1-aminocyclopentane-1,3-dicarboxylate [(1S,3R)-ACPD] presynaptically inhibits evoked glutamatergic excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) in patch-clamped rat nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS) neurons recorded in thin slices. The present study investigated the ability of endogenously released glutamate to modulate EPSCs in the NTS. 2. A low-frequency tetanus of the tractus solitarius (TS) resulted in either posttetanic potentiation (PTP) (8 of 21 cells) or depression (13 of 21 cells) of monosynaptic EPSCs recorded in the presence of D(-)2-amino-5- phosphonopentanoic acid (AP5) and bicuculline. 3. The amplitude of the EPSC was not significantly affected by the bath application of the mGluR antagonist (+) α-methyl-4-carboxyphenylglycine (MCPG). 4. In the presence of MCPG, a low-frequency tetanus resulted in PTP of the EPSC in all neurons. PTP was significantly enhanced in those cells previously exhibiting PTP. 5. The results suggest that presynaptic mGluRs on TS projections to the NTS may be activated by endogenously released glutamate at physiologically relevant stimulus frequencies and therefore play a role in the modulation of autonomic afferent transmission.
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