To understand the functions of the neocortex, it is essential to characterize the properties of neurons constituting cortical circuits. Here, we focused on a distinct group of GABAergic neurons that are defined by a specific colocalization of intense labeling for both neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) and substance P (SP) receptor [neurokinin 1 (NK1) receptors]. We investigated the mechanisms of the SP actions on these neurons in visual cortical slices obtained from young glutamate decarboxylase 67-green fluorescent protein knock-in mice. Bath application of SP induced a nonselective cation current leading to depolarization that was inhibited by the NK1 antagonists in nNOS-immunopositive neurons. Ruthenium red and La(3+), transient receptor potential (TRP) channel blockers, suppressed the SP-induced current. The SP-induced current was mediated by G proteins and suppressed by D609, an inhibitor of phosphatidylcholine-specific phospholipase C (PC-PLC), but not by inhibitors of phosphatidylinositol-specific PLC, adenylate cyclase or Src tyrosine kinases. Ca(2+) imaging experiments under voltage clamp showed that SP induced a rise in intracellular Ca(2+) that was abolished by removal of extracellular Ca(2+) but not by depletion of intracellular Ca(2+) stores. These results suggest that SP regulates nNOS neurons by activating TRP-like Ca(2+)-permeable nonselective cation channels through a PC-PLC-dependent signaling pathway.
Keywords: NK1 receptor; PC-PLC; neuronal nitric oxide synthase; slice; tachykinin.
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