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Modulation of serotonergic neurotransmission by nitric oxide

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Volker StraubORCiD


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Nitric oxide (NO) and serotonin (5-HT) are two neurotransmitters with important roles in neuromodulation and synaptic plasticity. There is substantial evidence for a morphological and functional overlap between these two neurotransmitter systems, in particular the modulation of 5-HT function by NO. Here we demonstrate for the first time the modulation of an identified serotonergic synapse by NO using the synapse between the cerebral giant cell (CGC) and the B4 neuron within the feeding network of the pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis as a model system. Simultaneous electrophysiological recordings from the pre- and postsynaptic neurons show that blocking endogenous NO production in the intact nervous system significantly reduces the B4 response to CGC activity. The blocking effect is frequency dependent and is strongest at low CGC frequencies. Conversely, bath application of the NO donor DEA/NONOate significantly enhances the CGC-B4 synapse. The modulation of the CGC-B4 synapse is mediated by the soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC)/cGMP pathway as demonstrated by the effects of the sGC antagonist 1H-[1,2,4]oxadiazolo[4,3-a]quinoxalin-1-one (ODQ). NO modulation of the CGC-B4 synapse can be mimicked in cell culture, where application of 5-HT puffs to isolated B4 neurons simulates synaptic 5-HT release. Bath application of diethylamine NONOate (DEA/NONOate) enhances the 5-HT induced response in the isolated B4 neuron. However, the cell culture experiment provided no evidence for endogenous NO production in either the CGC or B4 neuron suggesting that NO is produced by an alternative source. Thus we conclude that NO modulates the serotonergic CGC-B4 synapse by enhancing the postsynaptic 5-HT response.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Straub VA, Grant J, O'Shea M, Benjamin PR

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Neurophysiology

Year: 2007

Volume: 97

Issue: 2

Pages: 1088-99

ISSN (print): 0022-3077

ISSN (electronic): 1522-1598

Publisher: American Physiological Society


DOI: 10.1152/jn.01048.2006


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