Long-term facilitation and long-term adaptation at synapses of a crayfish phasic motoneuron

J Neurobiol. 1985 Mar;16(2):97-110. doi: 10.1002/neu.480160203.


Stimulation of the phasic (fast) motor axon of the isolated crayfish claw preparation at relatively low frequency (0.1 Hz) leads to depression of the excitatory junction potential (EJP) recorded from single muscle fibers. When the same stimulation is delivered following depression of the EJP at a higher frequency (5 Hz), a potentiated EJP appears, which is more resistant to low frequency depression. The potentiation appears to be analogous to "long-term facilitation" observed after stimulation of a tonic motor axon in crayfish and crabs. Long-term facilitation can be detected in preparations made from claws of animals in which the phasic motoneuron was stimulated at 5 Hz for 2 h in situ. This effect lasts for at least one day after one conditioning trial. Long-term facilitation is observed after stimulation of decentralized axons in situ, indicating that the change is attributable to local changes in terminal regions of the axon, and does not require the cell body. When electrodes are implanted in situ and the phasic motoneuron stimulated at 5 Hz for 2 h each day, synaptic depression becomes less pronounced and initial EJP amplitude becomes smaller over a period of several days. The latter changes, which adapt the neuron to a more tonic activity pattern, usually require several days for completion. Adaptation of fatigability occurs more rapidly than adaptation of initial EJP amplitude, and once established, remains for many days without further superimposed activity. Long-term adaptation does not occur in decentralized axons. Long-term facilitation and long-term adaptation are different responses of the neuron to enhanced activity. The former can occur in isolated or decentralized axons and leads to enhancement of EJP amplitude for a period of several hours to at least one day after a single episode of conditioning. The latter requires more time to be established, and leads to reduction of initial EJP amplitude and to lessened fatigability which persists for many days.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Animals
  • Astacoidea
  • Brachyura
  • Nephropidae
  • Neuromuscular Junction / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission*