Modulation of excitatory and inhibitory synaptic transmission
Glutamate and GABA are the major excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters in the mammalian central nervous system, playing roles in a variety of physiological and pathological processes. On the one hand these agents function in normal synaptic transmission; yet alterations in these systems can have profound consequences leading to seizures and neuronal damage. Our laboratory is interested in the physiology and pharmacology of amino acid neurotransmitters with emphasis on the regulation of fast excitatory and inhibitory synaptic function. In our studies, we use whole cell voltage clamp and isolated patch recording techniques to examine modulation of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and non-NMDA (kainate/AMPA) classes of glutamate receptors on postnatal rat hippocampal neurons and hippocampal slices. Other studies in the lab are examining factors contributing to short- and long-term forms of synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus and the effects of neuroactive steroids on GABA and glutamate channels.