Coincident pre- and postsynaptic activity modifies GABAergic synapses by postsynaptic changes in Cl- transporter activity

Neuron. 2003 Aug 28;39(5):807-20. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(03)00507-5.


Coincident pre- and postsynaptic activation is known to induce long-term modification of glutamatergic synapses. We report here that, in both hippocampal cultures and acute hippocampal slices, repetitive postsynaptic spiking within 20 ms before and after the activation of GABAergic synapses also led to a persistent change in synaptic strength. This synaptic modification required Ca2+ influx through postsynaptic L-type Ca2+ channels and was due to a local decrease in K+-Cl- cotransport activity, effectively reducing the strength of inhibition. Thus, GABAergic synapses can detect and be modified by coincident pre- and postsynaptic spiking, allowing the level of inhibition to be modulated in accordance to the temporal pattern of postsynaptic excitation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chlorine / metabolism
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • K Cl- Cotransporters
  • Long-Term Potentiation
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Presynaptic Terminals / physiology
  • Rats
  • Symporters / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid / metabolism


  • Symporters
  • Chlorine
  • gamma-Aminobutyric Acid
  • Calcium