Chen, L (reprint author), Univ Sci & Technol China, Dept Neurobiol & Biophys, Sch Life Sci, POB 4, Hefei 230027, Peoples R China,email@example.com
Taurine (Tau) is one of the most abundant free amino acids in the mammalian central nervous system. Whether the neurotransmission of the central auditory system is regulated or modulated by Tau is not clear. In the present study, we investigated the electrophysiological and pharmacological properties of Tau-activated currents in acutely dissociated neurons of the rat inferior colliculus (IC) using whole cell patch clamp recordings. At a holding potential of -60 mV and under a condition of chloride equilibrium potential near 0 mV, Tau activated an inward current and its half-maximal activation concentration was equal to 0.37 mM. The measured reversal potential of Tau-activated currents was close to theoretical chloride equilibrium potential. The currents evoked by Tau at both low (1 mM) and high (10 mM) concentrations were almost completely inhibited by strychnine, a glycine receptor antagonist. The Tau-activated current, however, was not affected by bicuculline, a GABAA receptor antagonist. Tau at increased concentrations progressively reduced the current response to subsequent glycine application. At saturated concentrations, Tau-activated current and glycine-activated current were mutually cross-desensitized by each other. These findings indicate that Tau activates glycine receptors in neurons of the rat IC and thus may have a functional role in regulating or modulating the neurotransmission of the central auditory system in mammals. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.