Modulation of synaptic transmission by nicotine and nicotinic antagonists in hippocampus

Florence C. Chiodini, Edömer Tassonyi, Sophie Hulo, Daniel Bertrand, Dominique Muller

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25 Citations (Scopus)


Using rat hippocampal slices, we studied the effects of nicotine and three antagonists of neuronal nicotinic receptors on excitatory and inhibitory transmission. We report that nicotine at concentrations between 0.5 and 100 μM enhanced excitatory synaptic responses and increased the size of the presynaptic fiber volley. This effect was reproduced by three neuronal nicotinic receptor antagonists: dihydro-β-erythroidine, methyllycaconitine and mecamylamine. In contrast, nicotine, but not nicotinic antagonists, produced a dual effect on inhibition: nicotine enhanced γ-aminobutyric-acid A (GABA(A)) receptor-mediated synaptic responses at low concentration (0.5 μM) and blocked them at high concentration (100 μM). We conclude that the excitatory effects of nicotine are reproduced by nicotinic receptor antagonists, thereby suggesting that these effects might be mediated through receptor desensitization. These results also indicate that nicotine differentially affects GABAergic inhibition at low and high concentrations- effects that are not reproduced by antagonists.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-628
Number of pages6
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1999


  • Dihydro-β-erythroidine
  • Excitatory post- synaptic potentials
  • Inhibitory post-synaptic potentials
  • Mecamylamine
  • Methyllycaconitine
  • Neuronal nicotinic receptors (nAChRs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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