Previous work from this laboratory has demonstrated that monosynaptic inputs from the brachium of the inferior colliculus (BIC) to the medial subdivision of the medial geniculate nucleus (mMG) strengthen as a result of associative conditioning with an acoustic conditioned stimulus (i.e., fear conditioning). One model that has been proposed to underlie certain types of neuronal plasticity involves the recruitment of N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA)-type glutamate receptors. The purpose of the present study was to examine the relative contributions of glutamatergic NMDA and non-NMDA receptors to synaptic transmission within this pathway. Individual contributions of the specific receptor types were assessed through the use of 2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid (AP5), a selective NMDA receptor antagonist, and 6-cyano-5-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (CNQX), a non-NMDA receptor antagonist. Bipolar stimulating electrodes were stereotaxically implanted in BIC and recording electrodes (attached to dual 32-gauge cannulae for delivery of drug) were positioned in mMG of New Zealand albino rabbits. Single pulses (150 μs, 100-350 μA) delivered to BIC resulted in short-latency (< 4 ms) responses in mMG. BIC-evoked single-unit activity was recorded from mMG before, during, and at several intervals after injection of AP5, CNQX, and/or artificial cerebrospinal fluid (ACSF). Injection of either AP5 or CNQX, but not ACSF significantly attenuated the short-latency BIC-evoked responses in the vast majority of cells tested. These findings suggest that the monosynaptic pathway from BIC to mMG is glutamatergic and that this pathway frequently employs NMDA-type receptors during electrically stimulated synaptic transmission. Due to the NMDA receptors' proposed role in plasticity (e.g. long-term potentiation), these results may have implications for understanding the mechanisms of synaptic plasticity observed at this synapse during associative learning.
- Brachium of the inferior colliculus
- Medial geniculate nucleus
- NMDA-mediated synaptic transmission
ASJC Scopus subject areas