• endocannabinoids;
  • group 1 metabotropic glutamate receptor;
  • in vivo whole-cell recording;
  • nitric oxide synthase;
  • N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor


Cerebellar parallel fiber–Purkinje cell (PF–PC) long-term synaptic plasticity is important for the formation and stability of cerebellar neuronal circuits, and provides substrates for motor learning and memory. We previously reported both presynaptic long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD) in cerebellar PF–PC synapses in vitro. However, the expression and mechanisms of cerebellar PF–PC synaptic plasticity in the cerebellar cortex in vivo are poorly understood. In the present study, we studied the properties of 4 Hz stimulation-induced PF–PC presynaptic long-term plasticity using in vivo the whole-cell patch-clamp recording technique and pharmacological methods in urethane-anesthetised mice. Our results demonstrated that 4 Hz PF stimulation induced presynaptic LTD of PF–PC synaptic transmission in the intact cerebellar cortex in living mice. The PF–PC presynaptic LTD was attenuated by either the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist, D-aminophosphonovaleric acid, or the group 1 metabotropic glutamate receptor antagonist, JNJ16259685, and was abolished by combined D-aminophosphonovaleric acid and JNJ16259685, but enhanced by inhibition of nitric oxide synthase. Blockade of cannabinoid type 1 receptor activity abolished the PF–PC LTD and revealed a presynaptic PF–PC LTP. These data indicate that both endocannabinoids and nitric oxide synthase are involved in the 4 Hz stimulation-induced PF–PC presynaptic plasticity, but the endocannabinoid-dependent PF–PC presynaptic LTD masked the nitric oxide-mediated PF–PC presynaptic LTP in the cerebellar cortex in urethane-anesthetised mice.