Malinina, E., Druzin, M., Johansson, S.
To clarify the role of presynaptic L-type Ca2+ channels in GABA-mediated transmission in the medial preoptic nucleus (MPN), spontaneous, miniature, and impulse-evoked inhibitory postsynaptic currents (sIPSCs, mIPSCs, and eIPSCs, respectively) were recorded from MPN neurons in a slice preparation from rat brain. The effects of different stimulus protocols and pharmacological tools to detect contributions of L-type Ca2+ channels and of Ca2+-activated K+ (KCa) channels were analyzed. Block of L-type channels did not affect the sIPSC and mIPSC properties (frequency, amplitude, decay time course) in the absence of external stimulation but unexpectedly potentiated the eIPSCs evoked at low stimulus frequency (0.1–2.0 Hz). This effect was similar to and overlapping with the effect of KCa-channel blockers. High-frequency stimulation (50 Hz for 10 s) induced a substantial posttetanic potentiation (PTP) of the eIPSC amplitude and of the sIPSC frequency. Block of L-type channels still potentiated the eIPSC during PTP, but in contrast, reduced the sIPSC frequency during PTP. It was concluded that L-type channels provide a means for differential control of spontaneous and impulse-evoked GABA release and that this differential control is prominent during short-term synaptic plasticity. Functional coupling of the presynaptic L-type channels to KCa channels explains the observed effects on eIPSCs.