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Learn Mem. 2011 Apr 20;18(5):306-13. doi: 10.1101/lm.2154311. Print 2011.

The neural cell adhesion molecule-derived peptide FGL facilitates long-term plasticity in the dentate gyrus in vivo.

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Centre de Neurosciences Paris-Sud, Université Paris-Sud XI, CNRS-UMR8195, 91405, Orsay, France.


The neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) is known to play a role in developmental and structural processes but also in synaptic plasticity and memory of the adult animal. Recently, FGL, a NCAM mimetic peptide that binds to the Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor 1 (FGFR-1), has been shown to have a beneficial impact on normal memory functioning, as well as to rescue some pathological cognitive impairments. Whether its facilitating impact may be mediated through promoting neuronal plasticity is not known. The present study was therefore designed to test whether FGL modulates the induction and maintenance of synaptic plasticity in the dentate gyrus (DG) in vivo. For this, we first assessed the effect of the FGL peptide on synaptic functions at perforant path-dentate gyrus synapses in the anesthetized rat. FGL, or its control inactive peptide, was injected locally 60 min before applying high-frequency stimulation (HFS) to the medial perforant path. The results suggest that although FGL did not alter basal synaptic transmission, it facilitated both the induction and maintenance of LTP. Interestingly, FGL also modified the heterosynaptic plasticity observed at the neighboring lateral perforant path synapses. The second series of experiments, using FGL intracerebroventricular infusion in the awake animal, confirmed its facilitating effect on LTP for up to 24 h. Our data also suggest that FGL could alter neurogenesis associated with LTP. In sum, these results show for the first time that enhancing NCAM functions by mimicking its heterophilic interaction with FGFR facilitates hippocampal synaptic plasticity in the awake, freely moving animal.

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