Postsynaptic adenosine A2A receptors modulate intrinsic excitability of pyramidal cells in the rat basolateral amygdala

Andrew R. Rau, Olusegun J. Ariwodola, Jeff L. Weiner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: The basolateral amygdala plays a critical role in the etiology of anxiety disorders and addiction. Pyramidal neurons, the primary output cells of this region, display increased firing following exposure to stressors, and it is thought that this increase in excitability contributes to stress responsivity and the expression of anxiety-like behaviors. However, much remains unknown about the underlying mechanisms that regulate the intrinsic excitability of basolateral amygdala pyramidal neurons. Methods: Ex vivo gramicidin perforated patch recordings were conducted in current clamp mode where hyper- and depolarizing current steps were applied to basolateral amygdala pyramidal neurons to assess the effects of adenosine A2A receptor modulation on intrinsic excitability. Results: Activation of adenosine A2A receptors with the selective A2A receptor agonist CGS-21680 significantly increased the firing rate of basolateral amygdala pyramidal neurons in rat amygdala brain slices, likely via inhibition of the slow afterhyperpolarization potential. Both of these A2A receptor-mediated effects were blocked by preapplication of a selective A2A receptor antagonist (ZM-241385) or by intra-pipette infusion of a protein kinase A inhibitor, suggesting a postsynaptic locus of A2A receptors on basolateral amygdala pyramidal neurons. Interestingly, bath application of the A2A receptor antagonist alone significantly attenuated basolateral amygdala pyramidal cell firing, consistent with a role for tonic adenosine in the regulation of the intrinsic excitability of these neurons. Conclusions: Collectively, these data suggest that adenosine, via activation of A2A receptors, may directly facilitate basolateral amygdala pyramidal cell output, providing a possible balance for the recently described inhibitory effects of adenosine A1 receptor activation on glutamatergic excitation of basolateral amygdala pyramidal cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • A
  • AHP
  • Adenosine
  • Basolateral amygdala
  • Intrinsic excitability


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