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Synergistic action of GABA-A and NMDA receptors in the induction of long-term depression in glutamatergic synapses in the newborn rat hippocampus

Authors

  • Ivan Pavlov,

    1. Neuroscience Center and Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, PO Box 65 (Viikinkaari 1), FIN-00014 Helsinki, Finland
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  • Ruusu Riekki,

    1. Neuroscience Center and Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, PO Box 65 (Viikinkaari 1), FIN-00014 Helsinki, Finland
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  • Tomi Taira

    1. Neuroscience Center and Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, PO Box 65 (Viikinkaari 1), FIN-00014 Helsinki, Finland
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Dr Ivan Pavlov, as above.
E-mail: ivan.pavlov@helsinki.fi

Abstract

We show that activation of GABAA receptors (GABAARs) promotes induction of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor (NMDAR)-dependent long-term depression (LTD) of glutamatergic synapses in the newborn rat hippocampal area CA1 in a developmentally restricted manner. In the newborn rat hippocampus two mechanistically different types of LTD of glutamatergic synapses could be induced under similar experimental conditions. The form of the LTD induced depended on the stimulation protocol and on the age of the animal. Low-frequency stimulation (1 Hz) with 100 stimuli induced a robust homosynaptic, reversible LTD at postnatal days 2–8 (P2–P8) but not at P14. This LTD was blocked by the NMDAR antagonist AP5 or by the GABAAR antagonist picrotoxin. Use of a low-chloride solution in the patch pipette resulting in EGABA-A < –70 mV blocked the NMDAR-dependent LTD, whereas clamping the cell to –40 mV during induction rescued it. In addition, it was possible to induce LTD at P14 with 100 stimuli if the cells were clamped to –40 mV during induction. Low-frequency stimulation with 900 stimuli induced a robust homosynaptic, reversible LTD both at P2–P8 and at P14. However, neither AP5 nor picrotoxin affected the LTD induced by 900 pulses at P2–P8. Instead, the 900 stimuli-induced LTD was blocked by the metabotropic glutamate receptor antagonists when co-applied with AP5. We suggest that during the first postnatal week postsynaptic depolarization provided by the activation of GABAARs shifts the threshold for the LTD induction, making the synapses more prone to activity-induced plasticity. From the second postnatal week onwards, when the GABAA responses are already hyperpolarizing, different mechanisms for LTD induction prevail.

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