Putative depolarisation-induced retrograde signalling accelerates the repeated hypoxic depression of excitatory synaptic transmission in area CA1 of rat hippocampus via group I metabotropic glutamate receptors
Excitatory synaptic transmission in area CA1 of the mammalian hippocampus is rapidly depressed during hypoxia. The depression is largely attributable to an increase in extracellular adenosine and activation of inhibitory adenosine A1 receptors on presynaptic glutamatergic terminals. However, sequential exposure to hypoxia results in a slower subsequent hypoxic depression of excitatory synaptic transmission, a phenomenon we have previously ascribed to a reduction in the release of extracellular adenosine. In the present study we show that this delayed depression of excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) to repeated hypoxia can be reversed by a period of postsynaptic depolarisation delivered to an individual CA1 neuron, under whole-cell voltage clamp, between two periods of hypoxia. The depolarisation-induced acceleration of the hypoxic depression of the EPSC is dependent upon postsynaptic Ca2+ influx, the activation of PKC and is blocked by intracellular application of GDP-Î²-S and N-ethylmaleimide (NEM), inhibitors of membrane fusion events. In addition, the acceleration of the hypoxic depression of the EPSC was prevented by the GI mGluR antagonist AIDA, but not by the CB1 cannabinoid receptor antagonist AM251. Our results suggest a process initiated in the postsynaptic cell that can influence glutamate release during subsequent metabolic stress. This may reflect a novel neuroprotective strategy potentially involving retrograde release of adenosine and/or glutamate. âº Postsynaptic depolarisation accelerates the hypoxic depression of glutamate release. âº This process is Ca2+- and PKC-dependent and may entail postsynaptic membrane fusion. âº In addition, this process requires activation of GI mGluRs, but not CB1 receptors. âº We propose a novel form of retrograde signalling activated by metabolic stress.