Natural spike trains trigger short- and long-lasting dynamics at hippocampal mossy fiber synapses in rodents

PLoS One. 2010 Apr 1;5(4):e9961. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009961.


Background: Synapses exhibit strikingly different forms of plasticity over a wide range of time scales, from milliseconds to hours. Studies on synaptic plasticity typically use constant-frequency stimulation to activate synapses, whereas in vivo activity of neurons is irregular.

Methodology/principal findings: Using extracellular and whole-cell electrophysiological recordings, we have here studied the synaptic responses at hippocampal mossy fiber synapses in vitro to stimulus patterns obtained from in vivo recordings of place cell firing of dentate gyrus granule cells in behaving rodents. We find that synaptic strength is strongly modulated on short- and long-lasting time scales during the presentation of the natural stimulus trains.

Conclusions/significance: We conclude that dynamic short- and long-term synaptic plasticity at the hippocampal mossy fiber synapse plays a prominent role in normal synaptic function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Dentate Gyrus / cytology
  • Dentate Gyrus / physiology
  • Electrophysiology
  • Male
  • Mossy Fibers, Hippocampal / physiology*
  • Neuronal Plasticity*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Time Factors