Muscarinic (m2/m4) receptors reduce N- and P-type Ca2+ currents in rat neostriatal cholinergic interneurons through a fast, membrane-delimited, G-protein pathway

Zhen Yan, D. James Surmeier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

165 Scopus citations


The signaling pathways mediating the muscarinic modulation of Ca2+ currents in neostriatal cholinergic interneurons were studied by combined patch-clamp recording and single-cell reverse transcription-PCR. Cholinergic interneurons were identified by the presence of choline acetyltransferase mRNA. These neurons expressed Q-, N-, L-, P-, and R-type Ca2+ currents and the mRNA for the α1 subunits believed to form the channels underlying these currents (classes A, B, C, D, and E). Of the interneurons tested, nearly all expressed M2-class (m2, m4) receptor mRNAs, whereas m1 receptor mRNA was found in only a subset (∼30%) of the sample. The muscarinic agonist oxotremorine methiodide produced a dose-dependent reduction of N- and P-type Ba2+ currents through Ca2+ channels that was antagonized by atropine. N-ethylmaleimide eliminated the modulation, as did preincubation with pertussis toxin. The onset and offset of the modulation were rapid and dosedependent. The modulation was also attenuated by strong depolarizing prepulses and was not observed in cell-attached membrane patches. Taken together, our results suggest that activation of M2-class muscarinic receptors in cholinergic interneurons reduces N- and P-type Ca2+ currents through a membrane-delimited pathway using a Gi/o-class G-protein. This signaling pathway provides a cellular mechanism for hetero- and homosynaptic control of interneuronal activity and acetylcholine release in the striatum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2592-2604
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 1996


  • Acetylcholine
  • Calcium current
  • Cholinergic interneuron
  • Muscarinic receptor
  • Neostriatum
  • Neuromodulation
  • PCR
  • Patch clamp

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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