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In the present study, a cationic membrane conductance activated by the acetylcholine agonist carbachol was characterized in vitro in neurons of the basolateral amygdala. Extracellular perfusion of the K+ channel blockers Ba2+ and Cs+ or loading of cells with cesium acetate did not affect the carbachol-induced depolarization. Similarly, superfusion with low-Ca2+ solution plus Ba2+ and intracellular EGTA did not affect the carbachol-induced depolarization, suggesting a Ca2+-independent mechanism. On the other hand, the carbachol-induced depolarization was highly sensitive to changes in extracellular K+ or Na+. When the K+ concentration in the perfusion medium was increased from 4.7 to 10 mM, the response to carbachol increased in amplitude. In contrast, lowering the extracellular Na+ concentration from 143.2 to 29 mM abolished the response in a reversible manner. Results of coapplication of carbachol and atropine, pirenzepine or gallamine indicate that the carbachol-induced depolarization was mediated by muscarinic cholinergic receptors, but not the muscarinic receptor subtypes M1, M2 or M4, specifically. These data indicate that, in addition to the previously described reduction of a time- and voltage-independent K+ current (IKleak), a voltage- and time-dependent K+ current (IM), a slow Ca2+-activated K+ current (sIahp) and the activation of a hyperpolarization-activated inward rectifier K+ current (IQ), carbachol activated a Ca2+-independent non-selective cationic conductance that was highly sensitive to extracellular K+ and Na+ concentrations.


Journal article


Neuroscience. 1999 Jan;88(1):159-67.