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Neuron. 1995 Aug;15(2):407-15.

Long-term depression in cerebellar Purkinje neurons results from coincidence of nitric oxide and depolarization-induced Ca2+ transients.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093-0647, USA.


The role of nitric oxide (NO) in the induction of long-term depression (LTD) in the cerebellum was explored using a new, organic, membrane-impermeant form of caged NO. NO photolytically released inside Purkinje neurons mimicked parallel fiber (PF) activity in synergizing with brief postsynaptic depolarization to induce LTD. Such LTD required a delay of < 50 ms between the end of photolysis and the onset of depolarization, was prevented by intracellular Ca2+ chelation, and was mutually occlusive with LTD conventionally produced by PF activation plus depolarization. Bath application of NO synthase inhibitor or of myoglobin, a NO trap, prevent LTD induction via PF stimulation, but not that from intracellular uncaged NO, whereas intracellular myoglobin blocked both protocols. NO is therefore an anterograde transmitter in LTD induction. A biochemical requirement for simultaneous NO and elevation of intracellular free Ca2+ would explain why PF activity must coincide with postsynaptic action potentials.

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