On the induction of postsynaptic granule cell-Purkinje neuron LTP and LTD

Cerebellum. 2010 Sep;9(3):284-90. doi: 10.1007/s12311-010-0174-9.


In the last decade, several experimental studies have demonstrated that particular patterns of synaptic activity can induce postsynaptic parallel fiber (PF) long-term potentiation (LTP). This form of plasticity can reverse postsynaptic PF long-term depression (LTD), which has been traditionally considered as the principal form of plasticity underlying cerebellar learning. Postsynaptic PF-LTP requires a transient increase in intracellular Ca(2+) concentration and, in contrast to PF-LTD, is induced without concomitant climbing fiber (CF) activation. Thus, it has been postulated that the polarity of long-term synaptic plasticity is determined by the amplitude of the Ca(2+) transient during the induction protocol, with PF-LTP induced by smaller Ca(2+) signals without concomitant CF activation. However, this hypothesis is contradicted by recent studies. A quantitative analysis of Ca(2+) signals associated with induction of PF-LTP indicates that the bidirectional induction of long-term plasticity is regulated by more complex mechanisms. Here we review the state-of-the-art of research on postsynaptic PF-LTP and PF-LTD and discuss the principal open questions on this topic.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Potentiation / physiology*
  • Long-Term Synaptic Depression / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Purkinje Cells / physiology*