The muscarinic inhibition of the potassium M-current modulates the action-potential discharge in the vestibular primary-afferent neurons of the rat

C. Pérez, Agenor Limon-Ruiz, R. Vega, E. Soto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations


There is consensus that muscarinic and nicotinic receptors expressed in vestibular hair cells and afferent neurons are involved in the efferent modulation of the electrical activity of the afferent neurons. However the underlying mechanisms of postsynaptic control in neurons are not well understood. In our work we show that the activation of muscarinic receptors in the vestibular neurons modulates the potassium M-current modifying the activity of afferent neurons. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings were made on vestibular-afferent neurons isolated from Wistar rats (postnatal days 7-10) and held in primary culture (18-24 h). The M-current was studied during its deactivation after depolarizing voltage-clamp pulses. In 68% of the cells studied, those of larger capacitance, the M-current antagonists linopirdine and XE-991 reduced the amplitude of the M-current by 54%±7% and 50%±3%. The muscarinic-receptor agonist oxotremorine-M also significantly reduced the M-current by 58%±12% in the cells. The action of oxotremorine-M was blocked by atropine, thus indicating its cholinergic nature. The erg-channel blocker E-4031 did not significantly modify the M-current amplitude. In current-clamp experiments, linopirdine, XE-991, and oxotremorine-M modified the discharge response to current pulses from single spike to multiple spiking, reducing the adaptation of the electrical discharge. Our results indicate that large soma-size cultured vestibular-afferent neurons (most probably calyx-bearing neurons) express the M-current and that the modulation of this current by activation of muscarinic-receptor reduces its spike-frequency adaptation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1662-1674
Number of pages13
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 18 2009
Externally publishedYes



  • E4031
  • efferent synapse
  • KCNQ
  • linopirdine
  • muscarinic receptors
  • XE-991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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