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Neurosci Lett. 1992 Mar 30;137(2):270-3.

Investigation of beta-adrenergic modulation of synaptic transmission and postsynaptic induction of associative LTP in layer V neurones in slices of rat sensorimotor cortex.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, University College London, UK.


Long-term potentiation (LTP) of synaptic transmission is considered to be a neuronal model of learning. Recently, the probability of induction of associative LTP in layer V cells in sensorimotor neocortex was shown to be much higher in the awake cat than in the slice preparation. We hypothesised that the loss of extrinsic noradrenergic activity in the slice might account for this difference, particularly since a beta-adrenergic enhancement of field potentials has been seen in this preparation. We therefore bath-applied noradrenaline (NA) or the beta 1-adrenergic agonist, isoprenaline (ISO) to elucidate the cellular basis of the enhancement of field potentials, and to see if the drugs increased the probability of induction of associative LTP in slices. We found that NA and ISO produced a dose-dependent, reversible reduction of spike accommodation and an increase in excitability but had no effect on the depolarizing slope or peak amplitude of sub-threshold EPSPs, and that drug application did not increase the probability of induction of LTP. We conclude that: (1) the enhancement of field potentials and late components of EPSPs (7) can be explained by the known actions of beta-adrenergic drugs on membrane currents in layer V cells, and (2) the lower probability of induction of associative LTP in slices cf. the awake cat cannot be due solely to the loss of noradrenergic activity.

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