Dopaminergic enhancement of excitatory synaptic transmission in layer II entorhinal neurons is dependent on D1-like receptor-mediated signaling

I. Glovaci, D. A. Caruana, C. A. Chapman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The modulatory neurotransmitter dopamine induces concentration-dependent changes in synaptic transmission in the entorhinal cortex, in which high concentrations of dopamine suppress evoked excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) and lower concentrations induce an acute synaptic facilitation. Whole-cell current-clamp recordings were used to investigate the dopaminergic facilitation of synaptic responses in layer II neurons of the rat lateral entorhinal cortex. A constant bath application of 1μM dopamine resulted in a consistent facilitation of EPSPs evoked in layer II fan cells by layer I stimulation; the size of the facilitation was more variable in pyramidal neurons, and synaptic responses in a small group of multiform neurons were not modulated by dopamine. Isolated inhibitory synaptic responses were not affected by dopamine, and the facilitation of EPSPs was not associated with a change in paired-pulse facilitation ratio. Voltage-clamp recordings of α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA) glutamate receptor-mediated excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) were facilitated by dopamine, but N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor-mediated currents were not. Bath application of the dopamine D1-like receptor blocker SCH23390 (50μM), but not the D2-like receptor blocker sulpiride (50μM), prevented the facilitation, indicating that it is dependent upon D1-like receptor activation. Dopamine D1 receptors lead to activation of protein kinase A (PKA), and including the PKA inhibitor H-89 or KT 5720 in the recording pipette solution prevented the facilitation of EPSCs. PKA-dependent phosphorylation of inhibitor 1 or the dopamine- and cAMP-regulated protein phosphatase (DARPP-32) can lead to a facilitation of AMPA receptor responses by inhibiting the activity of protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) that reduces dephosphorylation of AMPA receptors, and we found here that inhibition of PP1 occluded the facilitatory effect of dopamine. The dopamine-induced facilitation of AMPA receptor-mediated synaptic responses in layer II neurons of the lateral entorhinal cortex is therefore likely mediated via a D1 receptor-dependent increase in PKA activity and a resulting inhibition in PP1-dependent dephosphorylation of AMPA receptors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)74-83
Number of pages10
Early online date9 Nov 2013
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2014


  • Dopamine
  • Entorhinal cortex
  • PKA
  • Protein phosphatase 1


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