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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Nov 21;97(24):13342-7.

Capture of a protein synthesis-dependent component of long-term depression.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University, 722 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Hippocampal-based behavioral memories and hippocampal-based forms of synaptic plasticity, such as long-term potentiation, are divisible into short- and long-term phases, with the long-term phase requiring the synthesis of new proteins and mRNA for its persistence. By contrast, it is less clear whether long-term depression (LTD) can be divisible into phases. We here describe that in stable hippocampal organotypic cultures, LTD also is not a unitary event but a multiphase process. A prolonged stimulus of 900 stimuli spaced at 1 Hz for 15 min induces a late phase of LTD, which is protein- and mRNA synthesis-dependent. By contrast, a short train of the same 900 stimuli massed at 5 Hz for 3 min produces only a short-lasting LTD. This short-lasting LTD is capable of capturing late-phase LTD. The 5-Hz stimulus or the prolonged 1-Hz stimulus in the presence of protein synthesis inhibitors each can be transformed into an enduring late phase of depression when the prolonged stimulus is applied to another input in the same population of neurons.

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