Effects of ethanol and other drugs on excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmission in the crayfish.

Article date: 1992/3/1

PubMed ID: 1315845

Journal name: Journal of neurophysiology (ISSN: 0022-3077)


1. Crayfish exposed to 434 mM ethanol (EtOH) showed signs of hyperactivity within 0.5-2 h, at which times crayfish hemolymph EtOH concentration had reached 60-90 mM. 2. A 10-min exposure to 60-90 mM EtOH reduced presynaptic inhibition of excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) at the crayfish opener neuromuscular junction (NMJ) in vitro but did not significantly alter excitatory neurotransmission. The same concentrations of EtOH did not alter other potentials or currents associated with inhibition at this synapse, such as presynaptic inhibitory potentials (PIPs), inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs), and inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs). 3. Intermediate EtOH concentrations (120-180 mM) applied for 10 min in vitro reduced the amplitude of excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) by decreasing the membrane resistance of opener muscle fibers and by reducing the amplitude of EPSCs. 4. High EtOH concentrations (434 mM) applied for 10 min in vitro had yet greater depressive effects on measures of postsynaptic properties described above. The time course of EPSCs was also significantly reduced. In addition, presynaptic properties such as action-potential (AP) amplitude and frequency of spontaneous release of neurotransmitter were reduced by 434 mM EtOH. 5. Presynaptic inhibition, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA; 250-500 microM), muscimol (50 microM), and baclofen (75 microM) all reduced the depolarizing afterpotential of APs in the excitor axon and reduced EPSPs in opener muscle fibers. GABA (500 microM) and baclofen (75 microM) significantly reduced presynaptic AP amplitudes, whereas presynaptic inhibition, GABA (250 microM), and muscimol (50 microM) had no effect on AP amplitude. Bicuculline (250-500 microM), a GABAA antagonist, did not entirely eliminate presynaptic inhibition, whereas picrotoxin (50 microM), another GABAA antagonist, completely removed presynaptic inhibition. Thus presynaptic inhibitory mechanisms may involve both GABAA and GABAB receptors on the opener excitor axon. 6. Our data suggest that the behavioral hyperactivity seen at hemolymph EtOH concentrations of 60-90 mM is not accompanied by a change in excitatory synaptic transmission observed at the opener NMJ. Rather, crayfish hyperactivity may be due to depressive effects of EtOH on inhibitory synapses in the CNS similar to the disinhibition evoked by EtOH at the opener NMJ.

Author List: Blundon J A, Bittner G D

Publication Types: Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

Substances mentioned in the article: Ethanol;

Mesh terms: Animals; Astacoidea/physiology; Escape Reaction/drug effects; Ethanol/pharmacology; Female; Hemolymph/drug effects; In Vitro Techniques; Male; Membrane Potentials/drug effects; Motor Activity/drug effects; Muscles/innervation; Synapses/drug effects; Synaptic Transmission/drug effects;

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