Postsynaptic modulation of NMDA synaptic currents in rat hippocampal microcultures by paired-pulse stimulation

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1. Paired-pulse synaptic stimulation of hippocampal neurons in microcultures resulted in depression of synaptic current mediated by both NMDA and α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionate (AMPA) receptors. However, NMDA EPSCs were more severely depressed than AMPA EPSCs. 2. Partial NMDA receptor blockade reduced paired-pulse depression of NMDA but not of AMPA synaptic currents while partial AMPA receptor blockade had no effect on paired-pulse depression of AMPA EPSCs. These results suggest that ion flux through NMDA receptors is important in paired-pulse depression of NMDA responses but has no effect on AMPA responses. 3. Low extracellular Ca2+ concentrations or positive postsynaptic holding potentials reduced paired-pulse depression of NMDA EPSCs to near that of AMPA responses. 4. Brief paired applications of exogenous glutamate to neurons produced Ca2+-dependent depression similar to the depression of NMDA synaptic responses and synaptic stimulation depressed responses to exogenously applied NMDA. 5. Physiological concentrations of Mg2+ prevented expression of the postsynaptic modulation of NMDA EPSCs at -70 mV, but partial relief of Mg2+ block of the NMDA channel with depolarization increased paired-pulse depression of NMDA EPSCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-417
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 1996


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