Theta-frequency facilitation of AMPA receptor-mediated synaptic currents in the principal cells of the medial septum

John N. Armstrong, Brian A. Macvicar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Recent evidence suggests that Ca2+-permeable AMPA receptors display rapid, short-lasting current facilitation. In this study, we investigated the properties of AMPA receptor-mediated synaptic currents in medial septal neurons of the rat in an in vitro slice preparation. Immunocytochemistry with a selective antibody to the GluR2 subunit revealed that both choline acetyltransferase-containing and parvalbumin-containing neurons of the medial septum express no detectable GluR2 subunit immunoreactivity. We used whole cell voltage-clamp recordings to measure synaptically evoked AMPA receptor-mediated currents from medial septal neurons following stimulation of midline afferents. The GYKI 52466 (50μM)- and 2,3-dioxo-6-nitro-1,2,3,4-tetrahydrobenzo[f]quinoxaline-7-sulfonamide (NBQX) (20μM)-sensitive AMPA receptor-mediated component of the synaptic response was isolated by blocking GABAA- and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor-mediated currents with 30 μM bicuculline and 100 μM 2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid, respectively. In some cases, patched cells were filled with Lucifer yellow (0.1%) and imaged using 2-photon laser scanning microscopy. AMPA receptor-mediated currents that were observed in large medial septal neurons (20-30 μm) displayed rectification. These currents were sensitive to external application of philanthotoxin-343 (PhTx-343, 50 μM), a potent, high-affinity antagonist of Ca2+-permeable, GluR2-lacking AMPA receptors. Rectifying AMPA receptor-mediated currents also displayed a rapid increase in amplitude when evoked five times at low frequency such as 6 Hz. In contrast to currents observed in large medial septal neurons, AMPA-receptor mediated currents evoked in the remaining small (8-11 μm) neurons were nonrectifying and displayed rapid synaptic depression when stimulated five times at 6 Hz. The currents evoked in these cells were unaffected by external application of PhTx-343 and were therefore GluR2-containing AMPA receptors. The results of the present study demonstrate that the principal projection neurons of the medial septum contain PhTx-343-sensitive, GluR2-lacking AMPA receptors that display rapid current facilitation when stimulated at low frequencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1709-1718
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology


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