DOPAMINERGIC MODULATION OF SPINAL NEURONS AND SYNAPTIC POTENTIALS IN THE LAMPREY SPINAL CORD. Kemnitz, Christopher P. Department of Biology, Marquette University, Milwaukee Wisconsin, 53233.
APStracts 3:0199N, 1996.
1. It has been shown previously that dopamine-immunoreactive cells and processes are present in the lamprey spinal cord and that dopamine modulates the cycle period of fictive swimming. The present study was undertaken to further characterize the effects of dopamine on the cellular properties of lamprey spinal neurons and on inhibitory and excitatory postsynaptic potentials in order to determine how dopaminergic modulation may affect the central pattern generator for locomotion. 2. Dopamine reduced the late afterhyperpolarization (late AHP) following the action potential of motoneurons, and in three types of sensory neurons; dorsal cells, edge cells, and giant interneurons. The late AHP was not reduced in lateral interneurons or CC interneurons, both of which are part of the central motor pattern generating neural network. The reduction of the late AHP in motoneurons, edge cells, and giant interneurons resulted in an increase in firing frequency in response to depolarizing current injection. In the six cell classes examined, no changes were observed in the resting membrane potential, input resistance, rheobase, spike amplitude, or spike duration following application of dopamine. 3. The durations of action potentials broadened by application of tetraethylammonium in motoneurons and of calcium action potentials in dorsal cells and giant interneurons were decreased following bath application of 10 [mu]M dopamine. 4. The durations of tetrodotoxin-resistant, N-methyl-D- aspartate-induced membrane potential oscillations in lamprey spinal motoneurons were increased following bath application of 1-100 [mu]M dopamine, due perhaps to reduced calcium entry and thus reduced Ca ++ -dependent K + current responsible for the repolarization of the membrane potential during each oscillation. 5. Polysynaptic inhibitory postsynaptic potentials (IPSPs) elicited in lamprey spinal motoneurons by stimulation of the contralateral half of the spinal cord were reduced by bath application of 10 [mu]M dopamine. Polysynaptic EPSPs were not reduced by dopamine. 6. Monosynaptic IPSPs in motoneurons elicited by stimulation of single contralateral inhibitory CC interneurons and single ipsilateral axons were reduced by bath application of dopamine (10 [mu]M). Monosynaptic IPSPs in CC interneurons elicited by stimulation of ipsilateral lateral interneurons, however, showed no change following application of dopamine. 7. The lack of dopaminergic effect on the late AHP of the locomotor network neurons, lateral interneurons and CC interneurons, and the selective reduction of IPSPs from CC interneurons suggest that synaptic modulation may play an important role in dopaminergic modulation of cycle period during fictive swimming in the lamprey.

Received 1 February 1996; accepted in final form 12 September 1996.
APS Manuscript Number J81-6.
Article publication pending J. Neurophysiol.
ISSN 1080-4757 Copyright 1996 The American Physiological Society.
Published in APStracts on 7 October 1996