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Nature. 1996 Jun 27;381(6585):793-6.

Synaptic strengthening through activation of Ca2+-permeable AMPA receptors.

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Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Columbia University, New York, 10032, USA.


Postsynaptic Ca2+ elevation during synaptic transmission is an important trigger for short- and long-term changes in synaptic strength in the vertebrate central nervous system. The AMPA (alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazoleproprionate) receptors, a subfamily of glutamate receptors, mediate much of the excitatory synaptic transmission in the brain and spinal cord. It has been shown that a subtype of the AMPA receptor is Ca2+-permeable and is present in the subpopulations of neurons. When synaptically localized, these receptors should mediate postsynaptic Ca2+ influx, providing a trigger for changes in synaptic strength. Here we show that Ca2+-permeable AMPA receptors are synaptically localized on a subpopulation of dorsal horn neurons, and that they provide a synaptically gated route of Ca2+ entry, and that activation of these receptors strengthens synaptic transmission mediated by AMPA receptors. This pathway for postsynaptic Ca2+ influx may provide a new form of activity-dependent modulation of synaptic strength.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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