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J Neurosci. 2000 Jul 15;20(14):5208-16.

Long-term potentiation of intrinsic excitability at the mossy fiber-granule cell synapse of rat cerebellum.

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Department of Cellular/Molecular Physiology and Pharmacology, and INFM (Pavia Unit), I-27100 Pavia, Italy.


Synaptic activity can induce persistent modifications in the way a neuron reacts to subsequent inputs by changing either synaptic efficacy or intrinsic excitability. After high-frequency synaptic stimulation, long-term potentiation (LTP) of synaptic efficacy is commonly observed at hippocampal synapses (Bliss and Collingridge, 1993), and potentiation of intrinsic excitability has recently been reported in cerebellar deep nuclear neurons (Aizenmann and Linden, 2000). However, the potential coexistence of these two aspects of plasticity remained unclear. In this paper we have investigated the effect of high-frequency stimulation on synaptic transmission and intrinsic excitability at the mossy fiber-granule cell relay of the cerebellum. High-frequency stimulation, in addition to increasing synaptic conductance (D'Angelo et al., 1999), increased granule cell input resistance and decreased spike threshold. These changes depended on postsynaptic depolarization and NMDA receptor activation and were prevented by inhibitory synaptic activity. Potentiation of intrinsic excitability was induced by relatively weaker inputs than potentiation of synaptic efficacy, whereas with stronger inputs the two aspect of potentiation combined to enhance EPSPs and spike generation. Potentiation of intrinsic excitability may extend the computational capability of the cerebellar mossy fiber-granule cell relay.

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