NMDA receptors, mGluR5, and endocannabinoids are involved in a cascade leading to hippocampal long-term depression

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In the CA1 region of the rat hippocampus, metabotropic glutamate receptor-5 (mGluR5) and cannabinoid-1 receptors (CB1Rs) are believed to participate in long-term synaptic depression (LTD). How mGluRs and CB1Rs interact to promote LTD remains uncertain. In this study, we examined LTD induced by CB1R agonists, mGluR5 agonists, and low-frequency electrical stimulation (LFS) of the Schaffer collateral pathway. Synthetic CB1R agonists induced robust LTD that was mimicked by the endocannabinoid (EC), noladin ether (NLDE), but not by anandamide. 2-Arachidonylglycerol (2AG) produced only a small degree of LTD. The selective mGluR5 agonist, namely (RS)-2-chloro-5-hydroxyphenylglycine (CHPG), also induced robust LTD, and CHPG and NLDE occluded each other's effects. Similarly, CHPG and NLDE occluded LFS-induced LTD, and LTD resulting from all three treatments was blocked by a CB1R antagonist. CHPG-LTD and NLDE-LTD were insensitive to N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) block, even though LFS-LTD requires NMDARs. LTD induced by LFS or CHPG, but not NLDE-LTD, was blocked by a selective mGluR5 antagonist. (RS)-3,5-dihydroxyphenylglycine (DHPG), a less selective group I mGluR agonist, also induced LTD, but its effects were not blocked by mGluR5 or CB1R antagonists. Furthermore, DHPG-LTD was additive with LFS-LTD and CHGP-LTD. These results suggest that NMDARs, mGluR5, and CB1Rs participate in a cascade that underlies LFS-LTD and that release of an EC and CB1R activation occur downstream of NMDARs and mGluR5. Furthermore, DHPG induces a form of LTD that differs mechanistically from LFS-induced depression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)609-617
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • CB1 receptors
  • NMDA receptors
  • learning and memory
  • metabotropic glutamate receptors
  • retrograde messengers
  • synaptic plasticity


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