Activation of 5-HT7 receptors reverses NMDA-R-dependent LTD by activating PKA in medial vestibular neurons

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The medial vestibular nucleus (MVN) is a major output station for neurons that project to the vestibulo-spinal pathway. MVN neurons show capacity for long-term depression (LTD) during the juvenile period. We investigated LTD of MVN neurons using whole-cell patch-clamp recordings. High frequency stimulation (HFS) robustly induced LTD in 90% of type B neurons in the MVN, while only 10% of type A neurons were responsive, indicating that type B neurons are the major contributors to LTD in the MVN. The neuromodulator serotonin (5-HT) is known to modulate LTD in neural circuits of the cerebral cortex and the hippocampus. We therefore aim to determine the action of 5-HT on the LTD of type B MVN neurons and elucidate the relevant 5-HT receptor subtypes responsible for its action. Using specific agonists and antagonists of 5-HT receptors, we found that selective activation of 5-HT7 receptor in type B neurons in the MVN of juvenile (P13-16) rats completely abolished NMDA-receptor-mediated LTD in a protein kinase A (PKA)-dependent manner. Our finding that 5-HT restricts plasticity of type B MVN neurons via 5-HT7 receptors offers a mechanism whereby vestibular tuning contributes to the maturation of the vestibulo-spinal circuit and highlights the role of 5-HT in postural control.

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