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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2013, Article ID 954302, 8 pages
Research Article

Presynaptic Glycine Receptors Increase GABAergic Neurotransmission in Rat Periaqueductal Gray Neurons

Department of Pharmacology, School of Dentistry, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 700-412, Republic of Korea

Received 24 May 2013; Revised 6 July 2013; Accepted 31 July 2013

Academic Editor: Dong-ho Youn

Copyright © 2013 Kwi-Hyung Choi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The periaqueductal gray (PAG) is involved in the central regulation of nociceptive transmission by affecting the descending inhibitory pathway. In the present study, we have addressed the functional role of presynaptic glycine receptors in spontaneous glutamatergic transmission. Spontaneous EPSCs (sEPSCs) were recorded in mechanically dissociated rat PAG neurons using a conventional whole-cell patch recording technique under voltage-clamp conditions. The application of glycine (100 µM) significantly increased the frequency of sEPSCs, without affecting the amplitude of sEPSCs. The glycine-induced increase in sEPSC frequency was blocked by 1 µM strychnine, a specific glycine receptor antagonist. The results suggest that glycine acts on presynaptic glycine receptors to increase the probability of glutamate release from excitatory nerve terminals. The glycine-induced increase in sEPSC frequency completely disappeared either in the presence of tetrodotoxin or Cd2+, voltage-gated Na+, or Ca2+ channel blockers, suggesting that the activation of presynaptic glycine receptors might depolarize excitatory nerve terminals. The present results suggest that presynaptic glycine receptors can regulate the excitability of PAG neurons by enhancing glutamatergic transmission and therefore play an important role in the regulation of various physiological functions mediated by the PAG.