In the mammalian CNS, deletion of neuronal gap junction protein, connexin 36 (Cx36), causes deficiencies in learning and memory. Here we tested whether Cx36 deletion affects the hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP), which is considered as a cellular model of learning and memory mechanisms. We report that in acute slices of the hippocampal CA1 area, LTP is reduced in Cx36 knockout mice as compared to wild-type mice. Western blot analysis of NMDA receptor subunits indicates a higher NR2A/NR2B ratio in Cx36 knockout mice, indicating that there is shift in the threshold for LTP induction in knockout animals. Data suggest a possibility that learning and memory deficiencies in Cx36 knockout mice are due to deficiencies in LTP mechanisms.
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