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Nat Neurosci. 2001 Jul;4(7):711-7.

Visualization of changes in presynaptic function during long-term synaptic plasticity.

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  • 1Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Columbia University, 722 West 168th Street, New York, New York 10032, USA.


Controversy exists regarding the site of modification of synaptic transmission during long-term plasticity in the mammalian hippocampus. Here we used a fluorescent marker of presynaptic activity, FM 1-43, to directly image changes in presynaptic function during both short-term and long-term forms of plasticity at presynaptic boutons of CA3-CA1 excitatory synapses in acute hippocampal slices. We demonstrated enhanced presynaptic function during long-term potentiation (LTP) induced either chemically (with tetraethylammonium), or by high-frequency (200-Hz) electrical stimulation. Both of these forms of LTP required activation of L-type voltage-gated calcium channels and NMDA receptors in the postsynaptic CA1 neuron. These results thus implied that a long-lasting increase in the efficacy of synaptic transmission is likely to depend, at least in part, on enhanced transmitter release from the presynaptic neuron.

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