Postsynaptic factors control the duration of synaptic enhancement in area CA1 of the hippocampus

Neuron. 1991 Jan;6(1):53-60. doi: 10.1016/0896-6273(91)90121-f.


In area of CA1 of the hippocampus, at least two phases of long-term potentiation (LTP) can be isolated: an early decremental component referred to as short-term potentiation (STP), which precedes a long-lasting, nondecremental component commonly considered to be stable LTP. Utilizing the hippocampal slice preparation, experiments were performed to determine the physiological factors controlling the conversion of STP to LTP. The duration of NMDA receptor-dependent synaptic enhancement was influenced by several factors, including the degree of postsynaptic NMDA receptor activation and the magnitude and timing of postsynaptic membrane depolarization during synaptic transmission. It was possible to convert STP to LTP by manipulations that increased the influx of calcium into the postsynaptic cell. These results demonstrate that NMDA receptor activation can result in distinct forms of synaptic potentiation and imply that the magnitude of postsynaptic calcium increase is a critical variable controlling the duration of synaptic enhancement.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 2-Amino-5-phosphonovalerate / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Calcium / physiology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrophysiology
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Kinetics
  • N-Methylaspartate / pharmacology
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / drug effects
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / physiology
  • Second Messenger Systems
  • Synapses / drug effects
  • Synapses / physiology*


  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • N-Methylaspartate
  • 2-Amino-5-phosphonovalerate
  • Calcium