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Copper sensitivity in dorsal hippocampus slices.

J. Leiva, M. Palestini, M. Tetas, J. Lopez


The action of copper on the pyramidal neurons in CA1 of the hippocampus is little understood. Our main aim was to study the possible interaction of copper on the synaptic network in CA1 pyramidal neurons. We used Wistar rats hippocampus slices in a recording chamber. The population response ("population of spikes") collected by an extracellular micropipette under baseline conditions served as control. Copper, GABA, bicuculline and picrotoxin were delivered in different experimental conditions to the slice. One, 10 and 100 microM of copper concentration decreased significantly the amplitude and duration of the population spikes in relation to the control response. This effect did not show concentration dependency. Copper in bicuculline medium decreased significantly the duration response in relation to the control response and in relation to copper effect in a free bicuculline medium. This phenomenon emphasizes the copper action on the GABA (B) and (C) receptors. Copper in a picrotoxin medium increased significantly the excitability of the response. This new effect suggests that copper acts on non-GABA receptors, an effect that could be detected when the GABA receptors were inactivated. As a result of these findings it appears that, under our experimental conditions, copper generated transient sensitivity changes in pyramidal neurons of CA1 dorsal hippocampus.

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