Glycine-gated chloride channels depress synaptic transmission in rat hippocampus.
Tiagabine is a potent GABA uptake inhibitor with demonstrated anticonvulsant activity. GABA uptake inhibitors are believed to produce their anticonvulsant effects by prolonging the postsynaptic actions of GABA, released during episodes of neuronal hyperexcitability. However, tiagabine has recently been reported to facilitate the depolarizing actions of GABA in the CNS of adult rats following the stimulation of inhibitory pathways at a frequency (100 Hz) intended to mimic interneuronal activation during epileptiform activity. In the present study, we performed extracellular and whole cell recordings from CA1 pyramidal neurons in rat hippocampal slices to examine the functional consequences of tiagabine-augmented GABA-mediated depolarizing responses. Orthodromic population spikes (PSs), elicited from the stratum radiatum, were inhibited following the activation of recurrent inhibitory pathways by antidromic conditioning stimulation of the alveus, which consisted of either a single stimulus or a train of stimuli delivered at high-frequency (100 Hz, 200 ms). The inhibition of orthodromic PSs produced by high-frequency conditioning stimulation (HFS), which was always of much greater strength and duration than that produced by a single conditioning stimulus, was greatly enhanced following the bath application of tiagabine (2-100 microM). Thus, in the presence of tiagabine (20 microM), orthodromic PSs, evoked 200 and 800 ms following HFS, were inhibited to 7.8 +/- 2.6% (mean +/- SE) and 34.4 +/- 18.5% of their unconditioned amplitudes compared with only 35.4 +/- 12.7% and 98.8 +/- 12.4% in control. Whole cell recordings revealed that the bath application of tiagabine (20 microM) either caused the appearance or greatly enhanced the amplitude of GABA-mediated depolarizing responses (DR). Excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) evoked from stratum radiatum at time points that coincided with the DR were inhibited to below the threshold for action-potential firing. Independently of the stimulus intensity with which they were evoked, the charge transferred to the soma by excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs), elicited in the presence of tiagabine (20 microM) during the large (1,428 +/- 331 pA) inward currents that underlie the DRs, was decreased on the average by 90.8 +/- 1.7%. Such inhibition occurred despite the presence of the GABAB receptor antagonist, CGP 52 432 (10 microM), indicating that GABAB heteroreceptors, located on glutamatergic terminals, do not mediate the observed reduction in the amplitude of excitatory postsynaptic responses. The present results suggest that despite facilitating the induction of GABA-mediated depolarizations, tiagabine application may nevertheless increase the effectiveness of synaptic inhibition during the synchronous high-frequency activation of inhibitory interneurons by enhanced shunting.