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Front Synaptic Neurosci. 2011 Nov 3;3:6. doi: 10.3389/fnsyn.2011.00006. eCollection 2011.

Dopamine Modulates Spike Timing-Dependent Plasticity and Action Potential Properties in CA1 Pyramidal Neurons of Acute Rat Hippocampal Slices.

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Institute of Physiology, Medical School, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg Magdeburg, Germany.


Spike timing-dependent plasticity (STDP) is a cellular model of Hebbian synaptic plasticity which is believed to underlie memory formation. In an attempt to establish a STDP paradigm in CA1 of acute hippocampal slices from juvenile rats (P15-20), we found that changes in excitability resulting from different slice preparation protocols correlate with the success of STDP induction. Slice preparation with sucrose containing ACSF prolonged rise time, reduced frequency adaptation, and decreased latency of action potentials in CA1 pyramidal neurons compared to preparation in conventional ASCF, while other basal electrophysiological parameters remained unaffected. Whereas we observed prominent timing-dependent long-term potentiation (t-LTP) to 171 ± 10% of controls in conventional ACSF, STDP was absent in sucrose prepared slices. This sucrose-induced STDP deficit could not be rescued by stronger STDP paradigms, applying either more pre- and/or postsynaptic stimuli, or by a higher stimulation frequency. Importantly, slice preparation with sucrose containing ACSF did not eliminate theta-burst stimulation induced LTP in CA1 in field potential recordings in our rat hippocampal slices. Application of dopamine (for 10-20 min) to sucrose prepared slices completely rescued t-LTP and recovered action potential properties back to levels observed in ACSF prepared slices. Conversely, acute inhibition of D1 receptor signaling impaired t-LTP in ACSF prepared slices. No similar restoring effect for STDP as seen with dopamine was observed in response to the β-adrenergic agonist isoproterenol. ELISA measurements demonstrated a significant reduction of endogenous dopamine levels (to 61.9 ± 6.9% of ACSF values) in sucrose prepared slices. These results suggest that dopamine signaling is involved in regulating the efficiency to elicit STDP in CA1 pyramidal neurons.


dopamine; hippocampal slice; isoproterenol; rat; synaptic plasticity

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