To investigate the relation between the function of Ca2+-activated K+ channels and phosphoinositide turnover, we have examined the physiological and pharmacological characteristics of ionotropic and metabotropic quisqualate (QA) receptors in rat cerebellar Purkinje cells during development using the slice-patch method combined with Ca2+ imaging. The typical response to QA obtained from a rat on postnatal day (PND) 21 consisted of three components: (1) a fast inactivating inward current, (2) a slow inward current, and (3) a slow outward current. The slow inward current was abolished in Ca2+-free medium, while the fast inactivating inward current and the slow outward current remained unaffected. The slow outward current which appeared to be activated via a metabotropic receptor was not observed in the Purkinje cell of PND 7 rat, in which dendrites were poorly developed but its amplitude increased linearly with PND. QA caused significant increases in [Ca2+]i in the fully developed dendritic region of the Purkinje cells even in Ca2+-free medium, suggesting a dendritic localization of the metabotropic receptors.
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