Glutamate uptake controls expression of a slow postsynaptic current mediated by mGluRs in cerebellar Purkinje cells

J Neurophysiol. 2002 Apr;87(4):1974-80. doi: 10.1152/jn.00704.2001.


At the cerebellar parallel fiber-Purkinje cell synapse, isolated presynaptic activity induces fast excitatory postsynaptic currents via ionotropic glutamate receptors while repetitive, high-frequency, presynaptic activity can also induce a slow excitatory postsynaptic current that is mediated by metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluR1-EPSC). Here we investigated the involvement of glutamate uptake in the expression of the mGluR1-EPSC. Inhibitors of glutamate uptake led to a large increase of the mGluR1-EPSC. D-aspartate (0.4 mM) and L(-)-threo-3-hydroxyaspartate (0.4 mM) increased the mGluR1-EPSC approximately 4.5 and approximately 9-fold, respectively, while dihydrokainic acid (1 mM), had no significant effect on the mGluR1-EPSC. D-aspartate (0.4 mM) shifted the concentration-response curve of the depression of the mGluR1-EPSC by the low-affinity mGluR1 antagonist (S)-a-Methyl-4-carboxyphenylglycine [(S)-MCPG] to higher concentrations and decreased the stimulus intensity and the number of necessary stimuli to evoke an mGluR1-EPSC. Depression of the mGluR1-EPSC by rapid pressure application of (S)-MCPG at varying time intervals after tetanic stimulation of the parallel fibers indicated that the glutamate concentration in the peri- and extrasynaptic space decayed with time constants of 36 and 316 ms under control conditions and with inhibition of glutamate uptake, respectively. These results show that expression of the slow mGluR-mediated excitatory postsynaptic current is controlled by glutamate transporter activity. Thus in contrast to fast glutamatergic synaptic transmission, metabotropic glutamate receptor-mediated transmission is critically dependent on the activity and capacity of glutamate uptake.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / drug effects
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology*
  • Extracellular Space / metabolism
  • Glutamic Acid / pharmacokinetics*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Mice
  • Nerve Fibers / physiology
  • Purkinje Cells / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate / physiology*


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Receptors, Metabotropic Glutamate
  • Glutamic Acid