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Neurosci Lett. 2009 Jan 16;449(3):220-3. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2008.11.012. Epub 2008 Nov 11.

Muscarinic acetylcholine receptors and voltage-gated calcium channels contribute to bidirectional synaptic plasticity at CA1-subiculum synapses.

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Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Chariteplatz 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany.


Hippocampal output is mediated via the subiculum, which is the principal target of CA1 pyramidal cells, and which sends projections to a variety of cortical and subcortical regions. Pyramidal cells in the subiculum display two different firing modes and are classified as being burst-spiking or regular-spiking. In a previous study, we found that low-frequency stimulation induces an NMDA receptor-dependent long-term depression (LTD) in burst-spiking cells and a metabotropic glutamate receptor-dependent long-term potentiation (LTP) in regular-spiking cells [P. Fidzinski, O. Shor, J. Behr, Target-cell-specific bidirectional synaptic plasticity at hippocampal output synapses, Eur. J. Neurosci., 27 (2008) 1111-1118]. Here, we present evidence that this bidirectional plasticity relies upon the co-activation of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors, as scopolamine blocks synaptic plasticity in both cell types. In addition, we demonstrate that the L-type calcium channel inhibitor nifedipine converts LTD to LTP in burst-spiking cells and LTP to LTD in regular-spiking cells, indicating that the polarity of synaptic plasticity is modulated by voltage-gated calcium channels. Bidirectional synaptic plasticity in subicular cells therefore appears to be governed by a complex signaling system, involving cell-specific recruitment of ligand and voltage-gated ion channels as well as metabotropic receptors. This complex regulation might be necessary for fine-tuning of synaptic efficacy at hippocampal output synapses.

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