Synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus of awake C57BL/6 and DBA/2 mice: interstrain differences and parallels with behavior

Hippocampus. 2001;11(4):391-6. doi: 10.1002/hipo.1053.


C57BL/6 mice consistently outperform DBA/2 mice in a range of hippocampal-dependent spatial learning behaviors. We recorded evoked responses from the dentate gyrus of awake, freely-moving mice and measured synaptic plasticity (LTP) and performance in a hippocampal-dependent task in individual animals from these two inbred strains. Spatial alternation tasks confirmed the behavioral divergence between the two strains, with C57BL/6 mice demonstrating more robust alternation than DBA/2 mice. Recording changes in field potentials in the dentate gyrus following three different high-frequency stimulation paradigms in the same groups of animals revealed differences in neural plasticity: both strains were able to support long-term potentiation (LTP) at perforant path synapses, but brief high-frequency stimulation induced larger and longer potentiation of the population spike in C57BL/6 than in DBA/2 mice. This greater propensity for population-spike potentiation in the strain that performed better in a hippocampal-dependent task is in accord with the different neurochemical profiles of C57BL/6 and DBA/2 mice.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • Electric Stimulation / methods
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL / physiology*
  • Mice, Inbred DBA / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Species Specificity
  • Synapses / physiology*