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J Neurosci. 2013 Jul 3;33(27):11184-93. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5595-12.2013.

Modulation of distal calcium electrogenesis by neuropeptide Y₁ receptors inhibits neocortical long-term depression.

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Department of Pharmacology and Centre for Neuroscience, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2H7, Canada.


In layer 5 neocortical pyramidal neurons, backpropagating action potentials (bAPs) firing at rates above a critical frequency (CF) induce supralinear Ca²⁺ influx and regenerative potentials in apical dendrites. Paired temporally with an EPSP, this Ca²⁺ influx can result in synaptic plasticity. We studied the actions of neuropeptide Y (NPY), an abundant neocortical neuropeptide, on Ca²⁺ influx in layer 5 pyramidal neurons of somatosensory neocortex in Sprague Dawley and Wistar rats, using a combination of somatic and dendritic intracellular recordings and simultaneous Ca²⁺ imaging. Ca²⁺ influx induced by trains of bAPs above a neuron's CF was inhibited by NPY, acting only at the distal dendrite, via Y₁ receptors. NPY does not affect evoked synaptic glutamate release, paired synaptic facilitation, or synaptic rundown in longer trains. Extracellular Cs⁺ did not prevent NPY's postsynaptic effects, suggesting it does not act via either G-protein-activated inwardly rectifying K⁺ conductance (G(IRK)) or hyperpolarization-activated, cyclic nucleotide-gated channels. NPY application suppresses the induction of the long-term depression (LTD) normally caused by pairing 100 EPSPs with bursts of 2 bAPs evoked at a supracritical frequency. These findings suggest that distal dendritic Ca²⁺ influx is necessary for LTD induction, and selective inhibition of this distal dendritic Ca²⁺ influx by NPY can thus regulate synaptic plasticity in layer 5 pyramidal neurons.

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