Journal of neurogenetics

Acute and chronic effects of clozapine on cholinergic transmission in cultured mouse superior cervical ganglion neurons.

PMID 27627024


Cholinergic dysfunction contributes to cognitive deficits in schizophrenia. The atypical antipsychotic clozapine improves cognition in patients with schizophrenia, possibly through modulation of the cholinergic system. However, little is known about specific underlying mechanisms. We investigated the acute and chronic effects of clozapine on cholinergic synaptic transmission in cultured superior cervical ganglion (SCG) neurons. Spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents (sEPSCs) were detected and were reversibly inhibited by the nicotinic receptor antagonist d-tubocurarine, confirming that the synaptic responses were primarily mediated by nicotinic receptors. Bath application of clozapine at therapeutic concentrations rapidly and reversely inhibited both the amplitude and frequency of sEPSCs in a concentration-dependent manner, without changing either rise or decay time, suggesting that clozapine effects have both presynaptic and postsynaptic origins. The acute effects of clozapine on sEPSCs were recapitulated by chronic treatment of SCG cultures with similar concentrations of clozapine, as clozapine treatment for 4 d reduced the frequency and amplitude of sEPSCs without affecting their kinetics. Cell survival analysis indicated that SCG neuron cell counts after chronic clozapine treatment were comparable to the control group. These results demonstrate that therapeutic concentrations of clozapine suppress nicotinic synaptic transmission in SCG cholinergic synapses, a simple in vitro preparation of cholinergic transmission.

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CNQX, ≥98% (HPLC), solid