Neurotensin effects on N-type calcium currents among rat pallidal neurons: An electrophysiological and immunohistochemical study

Alessandro Martorana, Giuseppina Martella, Vincenza D'Angelo, Francesca Romana Fusco, Francesca Spadoni, Giorgio Bernardi, Alessandro Stefani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The tridecapeptide neurotensin (NT) is involved in the modulation of dopamine (DA)-mediated functions in the nigrostriatal and mesocorticolimbic pathways. Its relevance in mammalian globus pallidus (GP) is questioned. A recent electrophysiological study on GP slices described NT-mediated robust membrane depolarization, depending upon the suppression of potassium conductance and/or the activation of cation current. Here, we have studied whether NT also affected high-voltage-activated calcium (Ca2+) currents, by means of whole-cell recordings on isolated GP neurons. In our hands, the full peptide and the segment NT8-13 reversibly inhibited N-like Ca2+ current in about 60% of the recorded dissociated neurons, irrespective of their capacitance. The NT-mediated modulation showed no desensitization and was antagonized by the NT1 antagonists SR48692 and SR142948. These results imply an abundant expression of NTS1 on GP cell somata. Then, we performed a light and immunofluorescence-confocal microscopy study of NTS1 localization among GP neurons. We found that NTS1 is localized in about 56% of GP neurons in both subpopulations of neurons, namely parvalbumin positive and negative. We conclude that NT, likely released from the striatal terminals in GP, acts through the postsynaptic NTS1 preferentially localized in the lateral aspects of the GP. These data suggest a new implication (neither merely presynaptic nor simply "excitatory") for NT in the modulation of GP firing pattern. In addition, NT might have a role in affecting the interplay among the endogenous release of GABA/glutamate and DA. This hypothesis might have implications on both sensori-motor and associative functions of the GP and should be tested in DA-denervated disease models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-383
Number of pages13
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006


  • Globus pallidus
  • HVA channels
  • Neurotensin receptor NTS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Advanced and Specialised Nursing
  • Pharmacology

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