Postsynaptic NMDA receptor-mediated calcium accumulation in hippocampal CA1 pyramidal cell dendrites

Nature. 1990 Jun 28;345(6278):807-10. doi: 10.1038/345807a0.


In the CA1 hippocampal region, intracellular calcium is a putative second messenger for the induction of long-term potentiation (LTP), a persistent increase of synaptic transmission produced by high frequency afferent fibre stimulation. Because LTP in this region is blocked by the NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor antagonist AP5 (DL-2-amino-5-phosphonovaleric acid) and the calcium permeability of NMDA receptors is controlled by a voltage-dependent magnesium block, a model has emerged that suggests that the calcium permeability of NMDA receptor-coupled ion channels is the biophysical basis for LTP induction. We have performed microfluorometric measurements in individual CA1 pyramidal cells during stimulus trains that induce LTP. In addition to a widespread component of postsynaptic calcium accumulation previously described, we now report that brief high frequency stimulus trains produce a transient component spatially localized to dendritic areas near activated afferents. This localized component is blocked by the NMDA receptor antagonist AP5. The results directly confirm the calcium rise predicted by NMDA receptor models of LTP induction.

MeSH terms

  • 2-Amino-5-phosphonovalerate / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Learning / physiology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission


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