Differential conditioning of associative synaptic enhancement in hippocampal brain slices

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Science  04 Apr 1986:
Vol. 232, Issue 4746, pp. 85-87
DOI: 10.1126/science.3952501


An electrophysiological stimulation paradigm similar to one that produces Pavlovian conditioning was applied to synaptic inputs to pyramidal neurons of hippocampal brain slices. Persistent synaptic enhancement was induced in one of two weak synaptic inputs by pairing high-frequency electrical stimulation of the weak input with stimulation of a third, stronger input to the same region. Forward (temporally overlapping) but not backward (temporally separate) pairings caused this enhancement. Thus hippocampal synapses in vitro can undergo the conditional and selective type of associative modification that could provide the substrate for some of the mnemonic functions in which the hippocampus is thought to participate.