The purpose of this study was to determine the role of angiotensin II (Ang II) in modulating inhibitory and excitatory synaptic inputs to the dorsolateral periaqueductal gray (dl-PAG). The whole cell voltage-clamp recording was performed to examine inhibitory and excitatory postsynaptic currents (IPSCs and EPSCs) of the dl-PAG neurons. Ang II, at the concentration of 2 μM, decreased the frequency of miniature IPSCs from 0.83 ± 0.02 to 0.45 ± 0.03 Hz (P < 0.05) in 10 tested neurons. This did not significantly affect the amplitude and decay time constant. The effect of Ang II on miniature IPSCs was blocked by the prior application of Ang II AT1 receptor antagonist losartan, but not by AT2 receptor antagonist PD123319. Additionally, Ang II decreased the amplitude of evoked IPSCs from 148 ± 15 to 89 ± 7 pA (P < 0.05), and increased the paired-pulse ratio from 96 ± 5% to 125 ± 7% (P < 0.05) in eight tested neurons. In contrast, Ang II had no distinct effects on the EPSCs. Our data suggest that Ang II inhibits GABAergic synaptic inputs to the dl-PAG through activation of presynaptic AT1 receptors.
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