Despite the large amount of neuropharmacological data concerning catecholamine (CA) mechanisms of the mammalian brain, little is known yet about the effects of MAO-inhibitors on single neurons. The present series of experiments aim to elucidate these specific neurochemical attributes of forebrain cells. Single neuron activity was recorded by means of multibarreled microelectrodes in the caudate nucleus, globus pallidus, and amygdala of both anesthetized rats and anesthetized or alert monkeys during microelectrophoretic application of the MAO-B blocker L-deprenyl (DEPR). CAs (dopamine and noradrenaline), glutamate, GABA, and acetylcholine were also applied. Nearly the half (46%) of all forebrain neurons tested responded, exclusively with inhibition, to DEPR, and the CA-sensitive cells were especially responsive to the MAO-B inhibitor. The time course of DEPR-induced neuronal suppression was short. In some cases, amphetamine (AMPH) and clorgyline (CLOR) were also applied microelectrophoreticaly. AMPH elicited similar activity changes to those seen after DEPR administrations, whereas CLOR applications were less effective. Our results provide evidence that DEPR can effectively modulate the activity of CA-sensitive neurons in the three different forebrain regions of two different species. On the basis of this data, the possible neurochemical mechanisms of DEPR action are discussed.
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