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Crocin antagonizes ethanol inhibition of NMDA receptor-mediated responses in rat hippocampal neurons

, : Crocin antagonizes ethanol inhibition of NMDA receptor-mediated responses in rat hippocampal neurons. Brain Research 787(1): 132-138

We have previously found that crocin (crocetin di-gentiobiose ester) antagonizes the inhibitory effect of ethanol on long-term potentiation in the rat hippocampus in vivo and in vitro. To explore mechanisms underlying the antagonism of crocin against ethanol, we investigated the effects of ethanol and crocin on synaptic potentials mediated by N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the dentate gyrus of rat hippocampal slices. Synaptic potential mediated by non-NMDA receptors was recorded in normal medium (1.3 mM Mg2+), while NMDA receptor-mediated synaptic potential was isolated in low (0.13 mM) Mg2+ medium containing the non-NMDA receptor antagonist 6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (10 microM). Crocin (10 microM) alone did not affect synaptic potentials mediated by non-NMDA nor NMDA receptors. Non-NMDA response was slightly inhibited by 100 mM ethanol, while NMDA response was selectively inhibited by lower concentrations (10-50 mM) of ethanol. Crocin (10 microM) did not affect the inhibition of non-NMDA response by 100 mM ethanol, but significantly blocked the inhibition of NMDA response by 10-50 mM ethanol. In addition, we performed whole-cell patch recording with primary cultured rat hippocampal neurons, and confirmed that crocin blocked ethanol inhibition of inward currents evoked by application of NMDA. These results suggest that crocin specifically antagonizes the inhibitory effect of ethanol on NMDA receptor-mediated responses in hippocampal neurons.


PMID: 9518580

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