Synaptic potentials in sympathetic ganglia: are they mediated by cyclic nucleotides?

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Science  02 Jun 1978:
Vol. 200, Issue 4345, pp. 1079-1081
DOI: 10.1126/science.206964


The hypothesis that cyclic nucleotides are intracellular second messengers mediating the generation of synaptic potentials was studied in the sympathetic ganglia of the bullfrog. Synaptic potentials and the effect of administering cyclic nucleotides and agents which affect cyclic nucleotide metabolism were recorded by the sucrose gap technique. The administration of adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cyclic AMP), guanosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cyclic GMP), or several of their derivatives produced little or no change in membrane potential. Prostaglandin E1 did not block the generation of postsynaptic potentials. Theophylline produced membrane effects that were different from those associated with postsynaptic potential generation; it also reduced the slow excitatory postsynaptic potential (EPSP) and potentiated the slow inhibitory postsynaptic potential (IPSP). The administration of papaverine, however, reduced both the slow EPSP and the slow IPSP. Although synaptic stimulation increases both cyclic GMP and cyclic AMP in these neurons, these results raise the possibility that these cyclic nucleotides may have functionla roles other than mediation of synaptic potentials.