Evidence of Zinc in Affording Protection Against X-Ray-Induced Brain Injury in Rats
An important pool of chelatable zinc is present in the synaptic vesicles of mossy fiber terminals from hippocampal CA3 area, being zinc released following single or repetitive electrical stimulation. Previous studies have suggested different synaptic roles for released mossy fiber zinc, including the inhibition of presynaptic calcium and of postsynaptic N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and gamma amino-butyric acid (GABAA) receptors. The effect of endogenously released zinc on mossy fiber long-term potentiation (LTP) induction also is not yet established. We have investigated the effect of the permeant zinc chelator N,N,N',N'-tetrakis(2-pyridylmethyl) ethylenediamine (TPEN) on mossy fiber calcium and on synaptic transmission, before and during the application of LTP-inducing stimulation. We have found, using the calcium indicator Fura-2, that single and tetanically-evoked mossy fiber calcium signals are both enhanced in the presence of 20 microM TPEN, while the single field potentials are unaffected. As expected, no effect was observed on the single calcium signals or field potentials obtained at the CA3-CA1 synapses, from the CA1 area, which has a lower concentration of vesicular zinc. These results support the idea that at the hippocampal mossy fiber synapses, released zinc inhibits presynaptic calcium mechanisms. A higher concentration of TPEN (100 microM) significantly reduced mossy fiber synaptic transmission but did not prevent the induction of mossy fiber LTP, suggesting that zinc is not required for the formation of this form of LTP.