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Keywords:

  • development;
  • hippocampus;
  • long-term depression;
  • NMDA;
  • synaptic plasticity

Abstract

Within the hippocampal formation, two forms of long-lasting synaptic plasticity, long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD), can be induced which require the activation of NMDA receptors. Interestingly, it has been shown that both LTP and LTD are reduced in adult animals. Recently, a new chemical protocol has been described which elicits LTD in the CA1 field of the hippocampus. Application of 20 μm NMDA for 3 min results in a stable and long-lasting decrease in the evoked synaptic responses. We used this protocol to induce LTD in hippocampal slices from young and adult rats and show that this form of LTD is AP5-sensitive and can be blocked by the protein phosphatase inhibitor cyclosporin A in slices from adult animals. In contrast to electrical LTD (induced by prolonged low frequency stimulation), the extent of chemical LTD was not different between the young and adult rats. These findings indicate that the intracellular signal transduction cascades involved in long-lasting synaptic depression are still intact in adult animals.