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Acta Med Okayama. 2008 Feb;62(1):21-8.

Critical differences in magnitude and duration of N-methyl D-aspartate(NMDA) receptor activation between long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD) induction.

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Department of Physiology, Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama 700-8558, Japan.


The induction of both long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD) in the hippocampal CA1 region is triggered by the activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors and the subsequent postsynaptic intracellular Ca2+ increase. However, how NMDA receptor activation differs between LTP and LTD induction is unclear. In the present study, we examined the effects of the magnitude and duration of NMDA receptor activation on the induction of LTP and LTD. Partial blockage of NMDA receptors by a low concentration of aminophosphonovaleric acid (APV) (2 microM) prevented the induction of LTP, but not LTD. In contrast, a high concentration of APV (25 microM) blocked both LTP and LTD. Tetanus stimulation-induced LTP was impaired when hippocampal slices were given the tetanus stimulation for more than 5 min. Under partial blockage of NMDA receptors, the prolonged-tetanus stimulation induced LTD but not LTP. This phenomenon was mimicked by the application of glutamate to the slices. Finally, LTD induced by prolonged activation of NMDA receptors was not affected by inhibition of the desensitization of alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid (AMPA) receptors. These results suggest that critical differences exist between the induction of LTP and that of LTD in terms of both the magnitude and the duration of NMDA receptor activation. The duration of the increase in intracellular Ca2+ concentration may be critical for determining whether LTP or LTD induction occurs.

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