Acetylcholine release from striatal cholinergic interneurons is controlled differently depending on the firing patternItsumi Arakawa, Ikunobu Muramatsu, Junsuke Uwada, Kiyonao Sada, Noriyuki Matsukawa, Takayoshi Masuoka
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
How is the quantal size in neurotransmitter release adjusted for various firing levels? We explored the possible mechanisms that regulate acetylcholine (ACh) release from cholinergic interneurons using an ultra‐mini superfusion system. After preloading [3H]ACh in rat striatal cholinergic interneurons, the release was elicited by electrical stimulation under a condition in which presynaptic cholinergic and dopaminergic feedback was inhibited. [3H]ACh release was reproducible at intervals of more than 10 min; shorter intervals resulted in reduced levels of ACh release. Upon persistent stimulation for 10 min, ACh release transiently increased, before gradually decreasing. Vesamicol, an inhibitor of the vesicular ACh transporter (VAChT), had no effect on the release induced by the first single pulse, but it reduced the release caused by subsequent pulses. Vesamicol also reduced the [3H]ACh release evoked by multiple pulses, and the inhibition was enhanced by repetitive stimulation. The decreasing phase of [3H]ACh release during persistent stimulation was accelerated by vesamicol treatment. Thus, it is likely that releasable ACh was slowly compensated for via VAChT during and after stimulation, changing the vesicular ACh content. In addition, ACh release per pulse decreased under high‐frequency stimulation. The present results suggest that ACh release from striatal cholinergic interneurons may be adjusted by changes in the quantal size due to slow replenishment via VAChT, and by a reduction in release probability upon high‐frequency stimulation. These two distinct processes likely enable the fine tuning of neurotransmission and neuroprotection/limitation against excessive output and have important physiological roles in the brain.