We examined synaptic plasticity in the dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampus in vitro in juvenile C57Bl6 mice (28-40 days of age), housed in control conditions with minimal enrichment (Controls) or with access to an exercise wheel (Runners). LTP expression was significantly greater in slices from Runners than in those from Controls, but could be blocked by APV in both groups. LTP was significantly reduced by NR2B subunit antagonists in both groups. NVP-AAM077, an antagonist with a higher preference for NR2A subunits over NR2B subunits, blocked LTP in slices from Runners and produced a slight depression in Control animals. LTD in the DG was also blocked by APV, but not by either of the NR2B specific antagonists. Strikingly, NVP-AAM077 prevented LTD in Runners, but not in Control animals, suggesting an increased involvement of NR2A subunits in LTD in animals that exercise. NVP-AAM077 did not block LTD in NR2A Knock Out (KO) animals that exercised, as expected. In an attempt to discern whether NMDA receptors located at extrasynaptic sites could play a role in the induction of LTD, DL-TBOA was used to block excitatory amino acid transport and increase extracellular glutamate levels. Under these conditions, LTD was not blocked by the co-application of a specific NR2B subunit antagonist in either group, but NVP-AAM077 again blocked LTD selectively in Runners. These results indicate that NR2A and NR2B subunits play a significant role in LTP in the DG, and that exercise can significantly alter the contribution of NMDA NR2A subunits to LTD.
(c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.