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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1992 Jan 1;89(1):123-7.

Intracellular injection of Ca2+ chelators blocks induction of long-term depression in rat visual cortex.

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  • 1Max-Planck-Institut für Hirnforschung, Frankfurt, Federal Republic of Germany.


In a variety of brain structures repetitive activation of synaptic connections can lead to long-term potentiation (LTP) or long-term depression (LTD) of synaptic transmission, and these modifications are held responsible for memory formation. Here we examine the role of postsynaptic Ca2+ concentration in the induction of LTD in the neocortex. In layer III cells of the rat visual cortex, LTD can be induced by tetanic stimulation of afferent fibers ascending from the white matter. We show that LTD induction is reliably blocked by intracellular injection of either EGTA or BAPTA [bis(2-aminophenoxy)ethane-N,N,N',N'-tetraacetate], two different Ca2+ chelators. This confirms that the processes underlying the induction of LTD in neocortex are located postsynaptically and indicates that they depend on intracellular Ca2+ concentration. Thus, both LTP and LTD induction appear to involve calcium-mediated processes in the postsynaptic neuron. We propose that LTD is caused by a surge of calcium either through voltage-gated Ca2+ conductances and/or by transmitter-induced release of calcium from intracellular stores.

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