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Life Sci. 2004 May 21;75(1):119-27.

Sexual dimorphism in the induction of LTP: critical role of tetanizing stimulation.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, Shaanxi 710061, People's Republic of China.


Numerous studies have suggested that sexual dimorphism may exist in learning and memory, particularly in types involving the hippocampus. In the present study, we examined the effects of two different tetani on the induction of long-term potentiation in the CA1 region of hippocampal slices from adult female and male rats to determine the sexual differences in their responses to tetanizing stimulation. We found that the induction of LTP is sex-dependent, and that there were clear sexual differences in the responses to different tetanus patterns, but not impulse number or stimulation frequency. Multiple trains of tetani were more effective in the indution of LTP in male rats than in female ones. These findings suggest that male rats can react to a broader range of tetanizing stimulation compared with female rats. Based on our results and the findings of other studies, we propose that the interaction of gonadal hormones with Ca2+/NMDAR and the subsequent regulation of the ERK/MAP kinase pathway are critical mechanisms for sexual dimorphism in the induction of LTP.

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