Muscimol increases acetylcholine release by directly stimulating adult striatal cholinergic interneurons

Ivan S. Login, Shanthi N. Pal, Donna T. Adams, Paul E. Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Because GabaA ligands increase acetylcholine (ACh) release from adult striatal slices, we hypothesized that activation of GabaA receptors on striatal cholinergic interneurons directly stimulates ACh secretion. Fractional [3H]ACh release was recorded during perifusion of acutely dissociated, [3H]choline-labeled, adult male rat striata. The GabaA agonist, muscimol, immediately stimulated release maximally ~ 300% with EC50 = ~ 1 μM. This action was enhanced by the allosteric GabaA receptor modulators, diazepam and secobarbital, and inhibited by the GabaA antagonist, bicuculline, by ligands for D2 or muscarinic cholinergic receptors or by low calcium buffer, tetrodotoxin or vesamicol. Membrane depolarization inversely regulated muscimol-stimulated secretion. Release of endogenous and newly synthesized ACh was stimulated in parallel by muscimol without changing choline release. Muscimol pretreatment inhibited release evoked by K+ depolarization or by receptor-mediated stimulation with glutamate. Thus, GabaA receptors on adult striatal cholinergic interneurons directly stimulate voltage- and calcium-dependent exocytosis of ACh stored in vesamicol- sensitive synaptic vesicles. The action depends on the state of membrane polarization and apparently depolarizes the membrane in turn. This functional assay demonstrates that excitatory GabaA actions are not limited to neonatal tissues. GabaA-stimulated ACh release may be prevented in situ by normal tonic dopaminergic and muscarinic input to cholinergic neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-40
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Acetylcholine
  • Calcium
  • Dissociated neurons
  • Dopamine
  • GabaA
  • Muscimol
  • Striatum
  • Vesamicol

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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