Cholinergic modulation of responses to glutamate in the thalamic reticular nucleus of the anesthetized rat

Brain Res. 1991 Aug 23;557(1-2):48-56. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(91)90114-b.


Neurons in the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) of the chloral hydrate-anesthetized rat were studied with extracellular recording and microiontophoretic application of cholinergic agents. In most cases (63%), the ejection of the agonist, carbachol, had no observable effect on spontaneous activity, and in an additional 33% of cases was observed to inhibit discharge rate. Carbachol ejections with identical current and duration parameters proved capable of antagonizing the uniformly facilitatory responses produced by glutamate ejection in these same cells. The muscarinic nature of cholinergic effects was documented by scopolamine's specific antagonism of the responses. The muscarinic antagonists, pirenzepine and AF-DX-116, both diminished the effects of carbachol. Application of muscarinic agonists, such as McN-A-343 and oxotremorine-M, yielded qualitatively the same results as carbachol, though, with current as a criterion, oxotremorine-M was slightly more and McN-A-343 much less potent than carbachol. The functional implications of cholinergic modulation of the facilitatory inputs to TRN are discussed, with particular emphasis on the role of acetylcholine and the TRN in the sleep/wake-related activity of thalamic neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anesthesia
  • Animals
  • Carbachol / pharmacology
  • Chloral Hydrate / pharmacology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electroencephalography
  • Glutamates / pharmacology*
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Iontophoresis
  • Male
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Parasympathetic Nervous System / physiology*
  • Parasympatholytics / pharmacology
  • Parasympathomimetics / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Reticular Formation / cytology
  • Reticular Formation / drug effects*
  • Stereotaxic Techniques
  • Thalamic Nuclei / cytology
  • Thalamic Nuclei / drug effects*


  • Glutamates
  • Parasympatholytics
  • Parasympathomimetics
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Chloral Hydrate
  • Carbachol