Metabotropic glutamate 5 (mGlu5) receptors have been recently implicated in prefrontal cortex (PFC)-dependent executive functions because inhibition of mGlu5 receptors impairs working memory and worsens cognitive-impairing effects of NMDA receptor antagonists. To better understand the mechanisms by which mGlu5 receptors influence PFC function, we examined the effects of selective mGlu5 receptor antagonist 2-methyl-6-(phenylethynyl)-pyridine (MPEP), given alone or in combination with the NMDA receptor antagonist MK801, on ensemble single unit activity in the medial PFC (mPFC) of behaving rats. MPEP decreased the spontaneous burst activity of the majority of mPFC neurons. This inhibition was selective for the most active cells because greater decreases were observed in neurons with higher baseline firing rates. MPEP augmented the effects of MK801 on burst activity, variability of spike firing and random spike activity. These findings demonstrate that in awake animals mGlu5 receptors regulate the function of PFC neurons by two related mechanisms: (i) rate-dependent excitatory influence on spontaneous burst activity; and (ii) potentiation of NMDA receptor mediated effects on firing rate and burst activity. These mechanisms support the idea that modulation of mGlu5 receptors may provide a pharmacological strategy for fine-tuning the temporal pattern of firing of PFC neurons.
- Ensemble single unit recording
- Metabotropic glutamate receptors
- NMDA receptor hypofunction
- Prefrontal cortex
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience