Much evidence implicates the serotonergic regulation of the amygdala in anxiety. Thus the present study was undertaken to characterize the influence of serotonin (5-HT) on principal neurons (PNs) of the rat lateral amygdala (LA), using whole cell recordings in vitro. Because inhibition is a major determinant of PN activity, we focused on the control of GABAergic transmission by 5-HT. IPSCs were elicited by local electrical stimulation of LA in the presence of glutamate receptor antagonists. We found that 5-HT reduces GABAA inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) via presynaptic 5-HT1B receptors. While the presynaptic inhibition of GABA release also attenuated GABAB currents, this effect was less pronounced than for GABAA currents because 5-HT also induced a competing postsynaptic enhancement of GABAB currents. That is, GABAB currents elicited by pressure application of GABA or baclofen were enhanced by 5-HT. In addition, we obtained evidence suggesting that 5-HT differentially regulates distinct subsets of GABAergic synapses. Indeed, GABAA IPSCs were comprised of two components: a relatively 5-HT-insensitive IPSC that had a fast time course and a 5-HT-sensitive component that had a slower time course. Because the relative contribution of these two components varied depending on whether neurons were recorded at proximity versus at a distance from the stimulating electrodes, we speculate that distinct subtypes of local-circuit cells contribute the two contingents of GABAergic synapses. Overall, our results indicate that 5-HT is a potent regulator of synaptic inhibition in LA. NEW & NOTEWORTHY We report that 5-HT, acting via presynaptic 5-HT1B receptors, attenuates GABAA IPSCs by reducing GABA release in the lateral amygdala (LA). In parallel, 5-HT enhances GABAB currents postsynaptically, such that GABAB inhibitory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs) are relatively preserved from the presynaptic inhibition of GABA release. We also found that the time course of 5-HT-sensitive and -insensitive GABAA IPSCs differ. Together, these results indicate that 5-HT is a potent regulator of synaptic inhibition in LA.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- 5-HT receptor
- GABA receptor
- GABA receptor
- Lateral amygdala