Activity-dependent modulation of synaptic AMPA receptor accumulation

Neuron. 1998 Nov;21(5):1067-78. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(00)80624-8.


Both theoretical and experimental work have suggested that central neurons compensate for changes in excitatory synaptic input in order to maintain a relatively constant output. We report here that inhibition of excitatory synaptic transmission in cultured spinal neurons leads to an increase in mEPSC amplitudes, accompanied by an equivalent increase in the accumulation of AMPA receptors at synapses. Conversely, increasing excitatory synaptic activity leads to a decrease in synaptic AMPA receptors and a decline in mEPSC amplitude. The time course of this synaptic remodeling is slow, similar to the metabolic half-life of neuronal AMPA receptors. Moreover, inhibiting excitatory synaptic transmission significantly prolongs the half-life of the AMPA receptor subunit GluR1, suggesting that synaptic activity modulates the size of the mEPSC by regulating the turnover of postsynaptic AMPA receptors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 2-Amino-5-phosphonovalerate / pharmacology
  • 6-Cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / drug effects
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / physiology
  • Half-Life
  • Kinetics
  • Picrotoxin / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Receptors, AMPA / drug effects
  • Receptors, AMPA / metabolism*
  • Receptors, AMPA / physiology*
  • Spinal Cord / cytology
  • Strychnine / pharmacology
  • Synapses / metabolism*
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology


  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Picrotoxin
  • 6-Cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione
  • 2-Amino-5-phosphonovalerate
  • Strychnine