Dopamine facilitates striatal EPSPs through an L-type Ca2+ conductance

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WHEN synaptic activity is evoked from relatively depolarized membrane potentials, D1 receptor agonists enhance the depolarization level and slow the decay of synaptic responses recorded from neostriatal spiny neurons. The population spikes' amplitude is also increased. These D1 actions facilitate firing and are evident in the presence of both NMDA and GABA selective blockers. Thus, dopaminergic D1 receptor activation facilitates the AMPA-mediated EPSP in these conditions. This facilitatory effect could be suppressed by L-type Ca2+ channel antagonists (200 nM calciseptine and 5 μM nicardipine), suggesting that it is mediated by an increase in L-current. D1-receptor activation thus mediates orthodromic facilitation of neostriatal neurons when evoked from depolarized membrane potentials. This reinforces the dopamine facilitation mediated through NMDA responses.

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