Pharmacological differentiation of kainate receptors on neonatal rat spinal motoneurones and dorsal roots.

PMID 9849660


The objectives of this study, conducted on neonatal rat spinal cord and dorsal roots in vitro, were to characterise the actions of a range of willardiine analogues on GluR5-containing kainate receptors present in dorsal roots, to determine whether GluR5-containing receptors are also present on motoneurones, and to differentiate responses mediated by kainate receptors from those mediated by AMPA receptors on motoneurones. (S)-5-Trifluoromethyl-willardiine, (S)-5-iodowillardiine, (S)-5-iodo-6-azawillardiine and ATPA were found to be potent agonists of kainate receptors on dorsal roots (EC50 values 0.108 +/- 0.002, 0.127 +/- 0.010, 0.685 +/- 0.141 and 1.3 +/- 0.3 microM, respectively) being more potent but of lower efficacy than kainate (EC50 value 14.8 +/- 1.8 microM). (S)-5-Iodo-6-azawillardiine blocked kainate-induced depolarisations of the dorsal root, probably via its desensitising action. Kainate-induced responses of dorsal roots were weakly antagonised by (RS)-3,5-dicarboxyphenylglycine (DCPG) (apparent KD 1.5 +/- 0.4 mM). Kainate receptors containing GluR5 subunits do not appear to be present on motoneurones since (RS)-3,5-DCPG (1 mM) potentiated rather than antagonised kainate-induced depolarisations of motoneurones. Although (S)-5-iodowillardiine (a potent and selective agonist at GluR5-containing kainate receptors) depolarised motoneurones (EC50 value 5.8 +/- 0.6 microM), such depolarisations were antagonised by both (RS)-3,4- and (RS)-3,5-DCPG, which are selective AMPA receptor antagonists at motoneurones, showing a KD value of 73 microM (Schild slope, 0.96 +/- 0.09) and an apparent KD value of 123 +/- 38 microM, respectively. This accords with the previously reported activity of willardiine analogues at AMPA receptors. Since neither (RS)-3,4- nor (RS)-3,5-DCPG antagonised kainate-induced motoneuronal depolarisations but cyclothiazide enhanced and GYK153655 blocked these responses it is possible that a component of the kainate response may be mediated by a population of DCPG-insensitive AMPA receptors on motoneurones. However, it is also possible that a population of kainate receptors other than those containing GluR5 subunits, are responsible for these effects. The new compounds introduced in this study are likely to be useful tools for studying the physiological role of kainate receptors in CNS function.