Nitric oxide facilitates N-methyl-D-aspartate-induced burst firing in dopamine neurons from rat midbrain slices

Barbara A. Cox, Steven W. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


Dopamine (DA) neurons in the ventral tegmental area and substantia nigra pars compacta were induced to fire in bursts with application of N-methyl-D- aspartate (NMDA, 20 μM) and apamin (100 nM) while recording intracellularly in the rat brain slice. L-Arginine (300 μM), a substrate for nitric oxide (NO) production, increased both the number of spikes per burst and the magnitude of interburst hyperpolarizations. Nitric oxide synthase inhibitors N-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME, 100 μM), N-nitro-L-arginine, and 7- nitroindazole inhibited NMDA-induced burst firing by reducing the number of spikes per burst. Moreover, L-arginine (100 μM) reversed the inhibition of burst firing produced by L-NAME. These findings suggest that NO facilitates NMDA-induced burst firing in DA neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-134
Number of pages4
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 23 1998



  • Brain slice
  • Burst firing
  • Dopamine neuron
  • L-Arginine
  • N- nitro-L-arginine methyl ester
  • N-Methyl-D-aspartate
  • Nitric oxide
  • Substantia nigra
  • Ventral tegmental area

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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