Assessment of Methods for the Intracellular Blockade of GABAA Receptors

Laura Atherton, Erica Burnell, Jack Mellor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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Selective blockade of inhibitory synaptic transmission onto specific neurons is a useful tool for dissecting the excitatory and inhibitory synaptic components of ongoing network activity. To achieve this, intracellular recording with a patch solution capable of blocking GABAA receptors has advantages over other manipulations, such as pharmacological application of GABAergic antagonists or optogenetic inhibition of populations of interneurones, in that the majority of inhibitory transmission is unaffected and hence the remaining network activity preserved. Here, we assess three previously described methods to block inhibition: intracellular application of the molecules picrotoxin, 4,4’-dinitro-stilbene-2,2’-disulphonic acid (DNDS) and 4,4’-diisothiocyanostilbene-2,2’-disulphonic acid (DIDS). DNDS and picrotoxin were both found to be ineffective at blocking evoked, monosynaptic inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) onto mouse CA1 pyramidal cells. An intracellular solution containing DIDS and caesium fluoride, but lacking nucleotides ATP and GTP, was effective at decreasing the amplitude of IPSCs. However, this effect was found to be independent of DIDS, and the absence of intracellular nucleotides, and was instead due to the presence of fluoride ions in this intracellular solution, which also blocked spontaneously occurring IPSCs during hippocampal sharp waves. Critically, intracellular fluoride ions also caused a decrease in both spontaneous and evoked excitatory synaptic currents and precluded the inclusion of nucleotides in the intracellular solution. Therefore, of the methods tested, only fluoride ions were effective for intracellular blockade of IPSCs but this approach has additional cellular effects reducing its selectivity and utility.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0160900
Number of pages22
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2016

Bibliographical note

29 July 2016

Structured keywords

  • Engineering Mathematics Research Group


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