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Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 1989 Sep 1;49(1):105-14.

Developmental changes in synaptic properties in hippocampus of neonatal rats.

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Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, University of California, Irvine 92717.


The properties of synaptic responses in area CA1 of hippocampus were analyzed in slices prepared from 7-9 and 12-15 day old neonate rats. As expected from earlier work, only slices of two-week-old animals showed a consistent degree of long-term potentiation (LTP) in response to patterned high frequency stimulation. Several other synaptic properties were found to change during this developmental period. Inhibitory responses were absent in 7-9 day old but not in 12-15 day old neonates. Paired-pulse facilitation and the calcium sensitivity of postsynaptic responses were considerably reduced in 7-9 as compared to 12-15 day old rats. However, phorbol esters and 4-aminopyridine treatment still produced a strong facilitation of field potentials. The N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) component of responses to single pulse stimulation in low magnesium medium was found to be larger in slices of 7-9 than 12-15 day old or adult animals. At the two time periods examined, trains of high frequency stimulation applied in the presence of regular magnesium elicited an NMDA dependent response. It is concluded that the differences in synaptic properties observed between 7-9 and 12-15 day old neonates may not account for the absence of LTP in the younger animals.

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