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Nat Neurosci. 2004 May;7(5):518-24. Epub 2004 Mar 28.

A proportional but slower NMDA potentiation follows AMPA potentiation in LTP.

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Department of Biology and Volen National Center for Complex Systems, MS 08, 415 South Street, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts 02454, USA.


Most excitatory glutamatergic synapses contain both AMPA and NMDA receptors, but whether these receptors are regulated together or independently during synaptic plasticity has been controversial. Although long-term potentiation (LTP) is thought to selectively enhance AMPA currents and alter the NMDA-to-AMPA ratio, this ratio is well conserved across synapses onto the same neuron. This suggests that the NMDA-to-AMPA ratio is only transiently perturbed by LTP. To test this, we induced LTP at rat neocortical synapses and recorded mixed AMPA-NMDA currents. We observed rapid LTP of AMPA currents, as well as delayed potentiation of NMDA currents that required previous AMPA potentiation. The delayed potentiation of NMDA currents restored the original NMDA-to-AMPA ratio within 2 h of LTP induction. These data suggest that recruitment of AMPA receptors to synapses eventually induces a proportional increase in NMDA current. This may ensure that LTP does not alter the relative contributions of these two receptors to synaptic transmission and information processing.

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