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Nature. 1996 Apr 4;380(6573):446-50.

Role of intercellular interactions in heterosynaptic long-term depression.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, University of California, San Francisco, USA.


Bidirectional control of synaptic strength is thought to be important for the development of neuronal circuits and information storage. The demonstration of homosynaptic long-term depression greatly enhances the usefulness of the synapse as a mnemonic device, but theoreticians have also seen the need for heterosynaptic decreases in synaptic efficacy, both in neuronal development and information storage. Indeed, induction of long-term potentiation in one population of synapses can be associated with a modest depression at neighbouring inactive synapses in the same population of cells. Here we report that in the CA1 region of the hippocampus this heterosynaptic long-term depression has the property that its sites of induction and expression occur in different populations of cells and thus requires the spread of a signal between neurons. Such a mechanism ensures a widespread distribution of this form of plasticity.

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