This study was conducted to investigate mechanisms regulating the release of [(3)H]D-aspartate (or endogenous glutamate) in the rat spinal cord. Presynaptic modulation of glutamate release was studied in superfused synaptosomes depolarized with 20 mM KCl. Calcium-channel antagonists, omega-conotoxin GVIA (omega-CgTx GVIA; N-type), nifedipine (L-type), and omega-conotoxin MVIIC (omega-CmTx MVIIC; P/Q type), were used to characterize the voltage-operated Ca(2+) channels (VOCCs) involved in this release. Nifedipine had no significant effect on the K(+)-evoked release of [(3)H]D-aspartate, but the omega-conotoxins GVIA and MVIIC produced dose-dependent inhibitory effects that were additive. The most substantial reduction (54.30% +/- 4.40%) was seen with omega-CgTx GVIA, indicating that N-type channels play a major role in the release of glutamate in this tissue. We investigated the effects of neuropeptide Y (NPY), NPY(13-36), and [Leu(31)][Pro(34)]NPY on Ca(2+)-dependent, K(+)-evoked [(3)H]D-aspartate release. NPY and NPY(13-36) equipotently inhibited the release of glutamate in a concentration-dependent manner. The half-maximal response was observed at about 12 nM; maximal inhibition of 44.22% +/- 4.60% was achieved with 0.3 microM. The selective GABA(B) agonist (-)baclofen inhibited K(+)-evoked [(3)H]D-aspartate release from superfused spinal cord synaptosomes by 50.00% +/- 4.80% at 10 microM. When NPY(13-36) and (-)baclofen were used together at maximal doses, their release-inhibiting effects were not additive. In addition, neither of the agonists was able to enhance the inhibition produced by pretreating the synaptosomes with the selective inhibitor of N-type VOCCs omega-CgTx GVIA. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that presynaptic Y(2)-like and GABA(B) receptors regulate glutamate release by blocking Ca(2+) currents through N-type VOCCs. Characterization of the receptors that can inhibit the release of glutamate may provide useful information for treatment of conditions characterized by excessive glutamatergic transmission in the spinal cord.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.