, Volume 73, Issue 3, pp 659-664

Involvement of GABA and ACh in retinal spreading depression: Effects of “low calcium — high magnesium” solutions

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Experiments have been performed on isolated chick retinas to demonstrate the participation of gabaergic and cholinergic systems in spreading depression (SD). Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and acetylcholine (ACh) were measured in the effluent solution of superfused retinas. The influence of changes in the concentration of calcium/ magnesium on the release of these neurotransmitters was studied. GABA and ACh are released in the superfusate of retinas during SD. Such release was observed during experimental periods longer than 2 h during which SD was elicited regularly at 15–20 min intervals. Decreasing calcium concentration from 1.0 to 0.5 mM and simultaneously increasing magnesium from 1.0 to 2.0–4.0 mM led to a decrease in GABA and ACh release during SD. Variations in light-scattering and increases in potassium concentration, usually occurring during SD, also decreased when supervising with low calcium/ high magnesium solutions. Lowering calcium concentration to 0.5 mM and increasing magnesium to 2.0 mM eventually turned the tissue refractory to SD. Sometimes a magnesium concentration of 2.0 mM was not effective in blocking SD. However, this blockage could be attained by increasing the concentration of magnesium to 4.0 mM. The effects of low calcium — high magnesium solutions on GABA and ACh release during SD suggests that the release of the substances is at least partially due to synaptic activity. It is not yet possible to establish whether GABA and ACh release is essential for the occurrence of SD. Nevertheless such release suggest that these neurotransmitters could influence the characteristics of SD manifestations in the retina.