Strong activation of parallel fibers produces localized calcium transients and a form of LTD that spreads to distant synapses

Neuron. 1996 Mar;16(3):601-10. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(00)80079-3.


The temporal and spatial changes in intracellular calcium levels during separate activation of parallel fiber (PF) and climbing fiber (CF) inputs to cerebellar Purkinje cells were studied. PF stimulation (1 Hz), at relatively high stimulus strengths, led to accumulations of calcium that were similar in peak levels to those following CF stimulation but that remained spatially localized. Such stimuli consistently induced a durable depression of PF synaptic transmission that partially occluded further depression by conventional conjunctive stimuli and that was independent of nitric oxide. This depression was accompanied by a reduction of synaptic efficacy in spatially isolated PF inputs to the same cell that was independent of postsynaptic calcium but that was mediated by nitric oxide. These data indicate that LTD comprises at least two separate processes and that parameters of PF stimulation that are capable of raising calcium levels in Purkinje cell dendrites are also able to induce long-term changes in synaptic efficacy.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Cerebellum / physiology*
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology*
  • Nerve Fibers / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Calcium