Volume transmission results in phasic and tonic modulatory signals. The actions of tonic dopamine (DA) at type 1 DA receptors (D1Rs) are largely undefined. Here we show that tonic 5nM DA acts at D1Rs to stabilize neuronal output over minutes by enabling activitydependent regulation of the hyperpolarization activated current (I h). In the presence but not absence of 5nM DA, I h maximal conductance (G max) was adjusted according to changes in slow wave activity in order to maintain spike timing. Our study on the lateral pyloric neuron (LP), which undergoes rhythmic oscillations in membrane potential with depolarized plateaus, demonstrated that incremental, bi-directional changes in plateau duration produced corresponding alterations in LP I hG max when preparations were superfused with saline containing 5nM DA. However, when preparations were superfused with saline alone there was no linear correlation between LP I hGmax and duty cycle. Thus, tonic nM DA modulated the capacity for activity to modulate LP I h G max; this exemplifies metamodulation (modulation of modulation). Pretreatment with the Ca2+-chelator, BAPTA, or the specific PKA inhibitor, PKI, prevented all changes in LP I h in 5nM DA. Calcineurin inhibitors blocked activity-dependent changes enabled by DA and revealed a PKA-mediated, activity-independent enhancement of LP I hG max. These data suggested that tonic 5nM DA produced two simultaneous, PKAdependent effects: a direct increase in LP I h G max and a priming event that permitted calcineurin regulation of LP I h. The latter produced graded reductions in LP I hG max with increasing duty cycles. We also demonstrated that this metamodulation preserved the timing of LP’s first spike when network output was perturbed with bath-applied 4AP. In sum, 5nM DA permits slow wave activity to provide feedback that maintains spike timing, suggesting that one function of low-level, tonic modulation is to stabilize specific features of a dynamic output.
Krenz, Wulf-Dieter C., Edmund W. Rodgers, and Deborah J. Baro. 2015. “Tonic 5nM DA Stabilizes Neuronal Output by Enabling Bidirectional Activity-Dependent Regulation of the Hyperpolarization Activated Current via PKA and Calcineurin.” PLOS ONE 10 (2): e0117965. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0117965.
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