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Neuron. 2009 Jun 25;62(6):839-49. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2009.05.027.

Metaplasticity of hypothalamic synapses following in vivo challenge.

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Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N4N1, Canada.


Neural networks that regulate an organism's internal environment must sense perturbations, respond appropriately, and then reset. These adaptations should be reflected as changes in the efficacy of the synapses that drive the final output of these homeostatic networks. Here we show that hemorrhage, an in vivo challenge to fluid homeostasis, induces LTD at glutamate synapses onto hypothalamic magnocellular neurosecretory cells (MNCs). LTD requires the activation of postsynaptic alpha2-adrenoceptors and the production of endocannabinoids that act in a retrograde fashion to inhibit glutamate release. In addition, both hemorrhage and noradrenaline downregulate presynaptic group III mGluRs. This loss of mGluR function allows high-frequency activity to potentiate these synapses from their depressed state. These findings demonstrate that noradrenaline controls a form of metaplasticity that may underlie the resetting of homeostatic networks following a successful response to an acute physiological challenge.

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