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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24326

Title: Disinhibition at Feedforward Inhibitory Synapses in Hippocampal Area CA1 Induces a Form of Long-term Potentiation
Authors: Ormond, John
Advisor: Woodin, Melanie A.
Department: Cell and Systems Biology
Keywords: Synaptic plasticity
Issue Date: 13-Apr-2010
Abstract: One of the central questions of neuroscience research has been how the cellular and molecular components of the brain give rise to complex behaviours. Three major breakthroughs from the past sixty years have made the study of learning and memory central to our understanding of how the brain works. First, the psychologist Donald Hebb proposed that information storage in the brain could occur through the strengthening of the connections between neurons if the strengthening were restricted to neurons that were co-active (Hebb, 1949). Second, Milner and Scoville (1957) showed that the hippocampus is required for the acquisition of new long-term memories for consciously accessible, or declarative, information. Third, Bliss and Lømo (1973) demonstrated that the synapses between neurons in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus could indeed be potentiated in an activity-dependent manner. Long-term potentiation (LTP) of the glutamatergic synapses in area CA1, the primary output of the hippocampus, has since become the leading model of synaptic plasticity due to its dependence on NMDA receptors (NMDARs), required for spatial and temporal learning in intact animals, and its robust pathway specificity. Using whole-cell recording in hippocampal slices from adult rats, I find that the efficacy of synaptic transmission from CA3 to CA1 can in fact be enhanced without the induction of classic LTP at the glutamatergic inputs. Taking care not to directly stimulate inhibitory fibers, I show that the induction of GABAergic plasticity at feedforward inhibitory inputs in CA1 results in the reduced shunting of excitatory currents, producing a long-term increase in the amplitude of Schaffer collateral-mediated postsynaptic potentials which is dependent on NMDAR activation and is pathway specific. The sharing of these fundamental properties with classic LTP suggests the possibility of a previously unrecognized target for therapeutic intervention in disorders linked to memory deficits, as well as a potentially overlooked site of LTP expression in other areas of the brain.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/24326
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Cell and Systems Biology - Doctoral theses

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