Previous studies ofNMDAreceptor (NMDAR) expression on axons of cerebellar molecular layer interneurons have produced conflicting results. We made use of the calcium sensitivity of vesicular release machinery to test for NMDAR activity in basket cell axons. Iontophoresis of L-aspartate, anNMDARagonist, onto basket cell axon collaterals had no effect on evoked IPSCs measured in synaptically coupled Purkinje cells. Furthermore, calcium indicators in basket cell varicosities did not report any change in intracellular calcium following iontophoresis of L-aspartate or two-photon uncaging of glutamate. In contrast, activation of presynaptic purinergic receptors by iontophoresis of ATP decreased evoked IPSC amplitudes and action potential-evoked calcium transients in axonal varicosities, demonstrating the effectiveness of activating presynaptic receptors by iontophoresis. We find no evidence for functional NMDARs in basket cell varicosities.
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