Differential contribution of GABAergic and glycinergic components to inhibitory synaptic transmission in lamina II and laminae III-IV of the young rat spinal cord.Eur J Neurosci. 2007 Nov; 26(10):2940-9.EJ
Using whole-cell patch-clamp recordings from spinal cord slices of young (10-15 days old) rats, we have characterized and compared the properties of inhibitory synaptic transmission in lamina II and laminae III-IV of the dorsal horn, which are involved in the processing of nociceptive and non-nociceptive sensory information, respectively. All (100%) of laminae III-IV neurons, but only 55% of lamina II neurons, received both gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic and glycinergic inputs. The remaining 45% of lamina II neurons received only GABAergic synapses. Neurons receiving only glycinergic synapses were never observed. Among the 55% of lamina II neurons receiving both GABAergic and glycinergic inputs, all displayed a small proportion (approximately 10%) of mixed miniature inhibitory postsynaptic currents (mIPSCs), indicating the presence of a functional GABA/glycine co-transmission at a subset of synapses. Such a co-transmission was never observed in laminae III-IV neurons. The presence of mixed mIPSCs and the differences in decay kinetics of GABAA-type receptor mIPSCs between lamina II and laminae III-IV were due to the endogenous tonic production of 3alpha5alpha-reduced steroids (3alpha5alpha-RS) in lamina II. Stimulation of the local production of 3alpha5alpha-RS was possible in laminae III-IV after incubation of slices with progesterone, subcutaneous injection of progesterone or induction of a peripheral inflammation. This led to the prolongation of GABAergic mIPSCs, but failed to induce the appearance of mixed mIPSCs in laminae III-IV. Our results indicate that, compared with lamina II, inhibitory synaptic transmission in laminae III-IV is characterized by a dominant role of glycinergic inhibition and the absence of a functional GABA/glycine co-transmission.