Previous neurochemical and behavioral studies suggest that muscarinic receptor antagonism has an excitatory effect on the nigrostriatal dopamine (DA) system. Using in vivo extracellular single unit recording, this study examined whether blockade of the muscarinic receptor by scopolamine alters the firing properties of DA neurons in the substantia nigra (SN). Scopolamine was administered either systemically or locally to DA neurons using microiontophoresis. Surprisingly, scopolamine did not cause any significant change in either the firing rate or pattern of the spontaneously active DA neurons. However, systemic injection of scopolamine significantly increased the number of active DA neurons in the SN. Local infusion of scopolamine into the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPT) mimicked the effect induced by systemically administered scopolamine, significantly increasing the number of active DA neurons without altering the firing rate and pattern. These results suggest that the reported increase in striatal DA release induced by scopolamine is in part mediated by activation of silent nigral DA neurons. The experiments with PPT local infusion further suggest that part of the effect of scopolamine may be due to its blockade of the inhibitory muscarinic autoreceptors on PPT cholinergic cells. The latter effect may lead to activation of quiescent DA neurons by increasing acetylcholine (ACh) release in the SN or in other brain areas providing inputs to DA neurons. Further understanding of the mechanism of action of scopolamine may help us further understand the role of ACh in both the pathophysiology and treatment of DA-related disorders including schizophrenia and Parkinson's disease.
|Numero di pagine||8|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2009|
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