Indirect modulation of neuronal excitability and synaptic transmission in the hippocampus by activation of proteinase-activated receptor-2

Gan, J. and Greenwood, S.M. and Cobb, S.R. and Bushell, T.J. (2011) Indirect modulation of neuronal excitability and synaptic transmission in the hippocampus by activation of proteinase-activated receptor-2. British Journal of Pharmacology, 163 (5). pp. 984-994. ISSN 1476-5381

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Abstract

Proteinase-activated receptor-2 (PAR2) is widely expressed in the CNS under normal physiological conditions. However, its potential role in modulating neuronal excitability and synaptic transmission remains to be determined. Here, we have investigated whether PAR2 activation modulates synaptic activity in the hippocampus. PAR2 activation and its effect on the hippocampus were examined in rat primary cultures and acute slices using whole cell patch clamp and standard extracellular recordings, respectively. PAR2 activation leads to a depolarization of hippocampal neurones and a paradoxical reduction in the occurrence of synaptically driven spontaneous action potentials (APs). PAR2-induced neuronal depolarization was abolished following either the inhibition of astrocytic function or antagonism of ionotropic glutamate receptors whilst the PAR2-induced decrease in AP frequency was also reduced when astrocytic function was inhibited. Furthermore, when examined in acute hippocampal slices, PAR2 activation induced a profound long-term depression of synaptic transmission that was dependent on NMDA receptor activation and was sensitive to disruption of astrocytic function. These novel findings show that PAR2 activation indirectly inhibits hippocampal synaptic activity and indicate that these receptors may play an active role in modulating normal physiological CNS function, in addition to their role in pathophysiological disorders.