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Intracellular Ca2+ thresholds for induction of excitatory long-term depression and inhibitory long-term potentiation in a cerebellar Purkinje neuron

Nakamura, Yoji, Hirano, Tomoo
Biochemical and biophysical research communications 2016 v.469 pp. 803-808
calcium, cerebral cortex, neurons, neurophysiology, rats
Synaptic plasticity in the cerebellar cortex contributes to motor learning. In particular, long-term depression at excitatory parallel fiber – Purkinje neuron synapses has been intensively studied as a primary cellular mechanism for motor learning. Recent studies showed that synaptic plasticity other than long-term depression such as long-term potentiation at inhibitory interneuron – Purkinje neuron synapses called rebound potentiation is also involved in motor learning. It was suggested that long-term depression and rebound potentiation might synergistically support motor learning. Here, we have examined induction conditions of long-term depression and rebound potentiation in cultured rat Purkinje neurons, and found that both of them were induced simultaneously by certain patterns of depolarization of a Purkinje neuron. Further, we found that long-term depression was induced by shorter depolarizing pulses causing a smaller intracellular Ca2+ increase than rebound potentiation. These results support an idea that long-term depression and rebound potentiation synergistically contribute to motor learning, and suggest that long-term depression may play a primary role in wider variety of motor learning paradigms than rebound potentiation.