Long-term potentiation and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors in the visual cortex of young rats

J Physiol. 1989 Jul;414:125-44. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.1989.sp017680.


1. Long-term potentiation (LTP) of synaptic transmission following tetanic stimulation of the white matter was studied by recording extracellular field potentials and intracellular synaptic potentials from layer II/III of visual cortical slices from young rats ranging in age from 21 to 40 days. 2. Single shocks applied to the white matter at 0.1 Hz, used as test stimuli, elicited field potentials that consisted of primary and secondary components. The removal of Ca2+ ions from the perfusate allowed identification of the secondary component as originating postsynaptically and the primary one as reflecting a mixture of antidromic and postsynaptic potentials. 3. Tetanic stimulation at 5 Hz for 60 s was delivered to the white matter and field potentials were observed for 20 min to 9 h after the tetanus. LTP was defined as being present when the response displayed more than a 20% increase in amplitude of the Ca2+-sensitive components 20 min after the tetanus. LTP was induced in twelve of twenty-three slices tested, and this potentiation lasted throughout the period of observation. The average magnitude of potentiation was 147.8 +/- 28.4% of the control value for the twelve slices. 4. Administration of D,L-2-amino-5-phosphonovalerate (APV), an antagonist selective for N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)-preferring receptors, slightly reduced the amplitudes of Ca2+-sensitive components of the field potentials. The average magnitude of reduction was 80.2 +/- 15.3% of the pre-drug control values. In the presence of APV, LTP was induced in only one slice of twelve tested. 5. Stable intracellular recordings were obtained from twenty-three cells from layer II/III. Excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) evoked by white matter stimulation had mean onset and peak latencies of 4.1 and 11.3 ms, respectively. In some cells these fast EPSPs were followed by another slow EPSP with a much longer latency and higher amplitude. Administration of APV revealed further that the fast EPSPs consisted of two components, i.e. early and late components. 6. Tetanization of the white matter induced long-lasting enhancement of EPSPs in eight of twelve cells tested. In five of these eight cells, fast EPSPs were enhanced in amplitude and in the remaining three cells, slow EPSPs appeared de novo after the tetanus. 7. APV reduced the amplitudes of the fast EPSPs and abolished the slow EPSPs if present. The average magnitude of reduction for the fast EPSPs was 65.6 +/- 15.1% and this reduction was due mainly to an elimination of the late component.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 2-Amino-5-phosphonovalerate / pharmacology
  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter / drug effects
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter / metabolism*
  • Synapses / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Cortex / growth & development
  • Visual Cortex / metabolism
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*


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