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Exp Brain Res. 2000 Dec;135(4):497-503.

Bi-directional changes in synaptic plasticity induced at corticostriatal synapses in vitro.

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Department of Biological Sciences, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.


Long-term changes in the synaptic efficacy of corticostriatal synapses are believed to be important for regulating the excitatory input to the basal ganglia, and hence for motor learning and certain forms of cognition. Previous reports have suggested that long-term depression (LTD) is the predominant form of plasticity at corticostriatal synapses. However, we report here that tetanic stimulation of the white matter can readily induce long-term potentiation (LTP) at corticostriatal synapses in a sagittal slice preparation. Furthermore, we find that corticostriatal LTP is obtained in the absence of pharmacological manipulation, and is dependent on NMDA receptor activation. In contrast, LTD is rarely observed following tetanic stimulation of the white matter, but in fact requires direct stimulation within the striatum. This striatally induced depression is blocked by both D1 and D2 dopamine receptor antagonists and by NMDA receptor blockade. Pairing of striatal stimulation with tetanic stimulation of the white matter does not prevent the induction, but significantly enhances the magnitude of LTP at corticostriatal synapses. We suggest that the corticostriatal depression reported here most likely involves the recruitment of local striatal circuits and dopaminergic inputs, and thus might explain the predominance of LTD previously reported. Our observation that it is indeed possible to induce LTP at corticostriatal synapses under physiological conditions in vitro has implications for the normal function and control of the basal ganglia in motor learning and cognition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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