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Korean J Physiol Pharmacol. 2012 Feb;16(1):65-70. doi: 10.4196/kjpp.2012.16.1.65. Epub 2012 Feb 28.

Developmental Switch of the Serotonergic Role in the Induction of Synaptic Long-term Potentiation in the Rat Visual Cortex.

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Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul 137-701, Korea.


Synaptic long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD) have been studied as mechanisms of ocular dominance plasticity in the rat visual cortex. Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5-HT) inhibits the induction of LTP and LTD during the critical period of the rat visual cortex (postnatal 3~5 weeks). However, in adult rats, the increase in 5-HT level in the brain by the administration of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) fluoxetine reinstates ocular dominance plasticity and LTP in the visual cortex. Here, we investigated the effect of 5-HT on the induction of LTP in the visual cortex obtained from 3- to 10-week-old rats. Field potentials in layer 2/3, evoked by the stimulation of underlying layer 4, was potentiated by theta-burst stimulation (TBS) in 3- and 5-week-old rats, then declined to the baseline level with aging to 10 weeks. Whereas 5-HT inhibited the induction of LTP in 5-week-old rats, it reinstated the induction of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDA)-dependent LTP in 8- and 10-week-old rats. Moreover, the selective SSRI citalopram reinstated LTP. The potentiating effect of 5-HT at 8 weeks of age was mediated by the activation of 5-HT(2) receptors, but not by the activation of either 5-HT(1A) or 5-HT(3) receptors. These results suggested that the effect of 5-HT on the induction of LTP switches from inhibitory in young rats to facilitatory in adult rats.


5-HT; 5-HT2 receptor; Citalopram; Para-chloroamphetamine; SSRI

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