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Neuroreport. 2004 Apr 9;15(5):829-32.

The role of actin in the regulation of dendritic spine morphology and bidirectional synaptic plasticity.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Dendritic spines, which are the preferred site of excitatory synapses in the mammalian CNS, are actin-rich structures. We hypothesized that dynamic regulation of actin in spines would differentially affects processes that lead to potentiation vs depression of synaptic efficacy. Here, we report that the expression of long-term depression of excitatory synaptic transmission persists in the presence of actin polymerization in rat hippocampal slices. We observe that the reversal of LTD, de-depression, by high-frequency stimulation was completely blocked. Using electron microscopy, dramatic changes in dendritic spine morphology which accompany the sustained, irreversible depression of excitatory synaptic transmission were observed.

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