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J Neurosci. 1999 Nov 1;19(21):RC36.

Molecular mechanisms of long-term potentiation in the insular cortex in vivo.

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Division of Neurophysiology, National Institute for Medical Research, London NW7 1AA, United Kingdom.


We have investigated molecular mechanisms of synaptic plasticity in the pathway between two forebrain structures important for taste learning, the basolateral amygdala (BLA) and the insular cortex. We report here that in vivo long-term potentiation (LTP) induced by BLA stimulation requires functional NMDA receptors and is modulated by muscarinic acetylcholine receptors. In addition, LTP results in the activation of cortical extracellular regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) and is blocked by inhibitors of ERK1/2 activation. Previous findings demonstrated the involvement of the same molecular mechanisms in the same cortical area during novel taste learning. The results demonstrate that both synaptic and behavioral plasticity share common molecular mechanisms in the insular cortex.

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