Modulation of hippocampal theta rhythm by the opioid system of the pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus
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The pedunculopontine tegmental nucleus (PPN) belongs to the brainstem system which synchronizes hippocampal activity. Theta relevant intra-PPN circuitry involves its cholinergic, GABA-ergic and glutamatergic neurons and Substance P as neuromodulator. Evidence that PPN opioid elements also modulate the hippocampal theta is provided here. In urethane-anesthetized rats a unilateral microinjection of morphine (MF) (1.5 and 5 micrograms) increased the maximal peak power of tail pinch-induced theta. The higher dose also increased the corresponding frequency. When the theta was evoked by intra-PPN injection of carbachol (10 micrograms), the addition of MF (5 micrograms) prolonged theta latency and shortened the duration of the theta. These effects of MF were blocked by naloxone (5 micrograms). The results obtained suggest that the PPN opioid system can enhance or suppress the hippocampal theta depending on the actual level of PPN activation.
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W. Trojniar, Department of Animal Physiology, University of Gdansk, 24 Kladki St., 80-822 Gdansk, Poland