Rapid redistribution of glutamate receptors contributes to long-term depression in hippocampal cultures

Nat Neurosci. 1999 May;2(5):454-60. doi: 10.1038/8123.


Synaptic strength can be altered by a variety of pre- or postsynaptic modifications. Here we test the hypothesis that long-term depression (LTD) involves a decrease in the number of glutamate receptors that are clustered at individual synapses in primary cultures of hippocampal neurons. Similar to a prominent form of LTD observed in hippocampal slices, LTD in hippocampal cultures required NMDA receptor activation and was accompanied by a decrease in the amplitude and frequency of miniature excitatory postsynaptic currents. Immunocytochemical analysis revealed that induction of LTD caused a concurrent decrease in the number of AMPA receptors clustered at synapses but had no effect on synaptic NMDA receptor clusters. These results suggest that a subtype-specific redistribution of synaptic glutamate receptors contributes to NMDA receptor-dependent LTD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, AMPA / metabolism
  • Receptors, Glutamate / metabolism*
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Receptors, Glutamate
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate