The effects of baclofen on calcium channel currents in dorsal sensory cells of the spinal cord in the lamprey

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Dorsal sensory cells isolated from the spinal cord of the lamprey species Ichthyomyzon unicuspis and Lampetra fluviatilis were used for whole-cell patch-clamp studies of the effects of baclofen on calcium channel currents, evoked in conditions in which Na+, K+ currents were blocked, by depolarizing membranes from constant holding potentials of -100 or -80 mV to +30 mV. Ba ions were used as carriers of currents through calcium channels. These studies demonstrated that baclofen (0.5 mM) decreased the peak amplitude of the Ba2+ current by an average of 22.5±4.2% (n = 12) in dorsal sensory cells of the lamprey Ichthyomyzon unicuspis and by 28.4±3.3% in the dorsal sensory cells of Lampetra fluviatilis (n = 25). The conductivity of dorsal sensory cell membranes in the presence of baclofen (and GABA) did not change. The blocking action of baclofen persisted in the presence of bicuculline (100 μM) and was lifted by addition of δ-aminovaleric acid and 2-hydroxysaclofen to the perfusing solution. These results are interpreted as evidence for the presence of GABAB receptors in dorsal sensory cell membranes. The data were compared with published results, and the question of the functional significance of GABAB receptors in the dorsal sensory cells (primary afferent cells) of cyclostomata is discussed.

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