Imidazoleacetic acid-ribotide induces depression of synaptic responses in hippocampus through activation of imidazoline receptors

J Neurophysiol. 2011 Mar;105(3):1266-75. doi: 10.1152/jn.00263.2010. Epub 2011 Jan 12.


Imidazole-4-acetic acid-ribotide (IAA-RP), an endogenous agonist at imidazoline receptors (I-Rs), is a putative neurotransmitter/regulator in mammalian brain. We studied the effects of IAA-RP on excitatory transmission by performing extracellular and whole cell recordings at Schaffer collateral-CA1 synapses in rat hippocampal slices. Bath-applied IAA-RP induced a concentration-dependent depression of synaptic transmission that, after washout, returned to baseline within 20 min. Maximal decrease occurred with 10 μM IAA-RP, which reduced the slope of field extracellular postsynaptic potentials (fEPSPs) to 51.2 ± 5.7% of baseline at 20 min of exposure. Imidazole-4-acetic acid-riboside (IAA-R; 10 μM), the endogenous dephosphorylated metabolite of IAA-RP, also produced inhibition of fEPSPs. This effect was smaller than that produced by IAA-RP (to 65.9 ± 3.8% of baseline) and occurred after a further 5- to 8-min delay. The frequency, but not the amplitude, of miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents was decreased, and paired-pulse facilitation (PPF) was increased after application of IAA-RP, suggesting a principally presynaptic site of action. Since IAA-RP also has low affinity for α(2)-adrenergic receptors (α(2)-ARs), we tested synaptic depression induced by IAA-RP in the presence of α(2)-ARs, I(1)-R, or I(3)-R antagonists. The α(2)-AR antagonist rauwolscine (100 nM), which blocked the actions of the α(2)-AR agonist clonidine, did not affect either the IAA-RP-induced synaptic depression or the increase in PPF. In contrast, efaroxan (50 μM), a mixed I(1)-R and α(2)-AR antagonist, abolished the synaptic depression induced by IAA-RP and abolished the related increase in PPF. KU-14R, an I(3)-R antagonist, partially attenuated responses to IAA-RP. Taken together, these data support a role for IAA-RP in modulating synaptic transmission in the hippocampus through activation of I-Rs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Hippocampus / drug effects
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Imidazoles / pharmacology*
  • Imidazoline Receptors / agonists*
  • Imidazoline Receptors / metabolism*
  • Long-Term Synaptic Depression / drug effects
  • Long-Term Synaptic Depression / physiology*
  • Male
  • Neural Inhibition / drug effects
  • Neural Inhibition / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Ribosemonophosphates / pharmacology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*


  • Imidazoles
  • Imidazoline Receptors
  • Ribosemonophosphates
  • imidazoleacetic acid ribotide