Muscarinic depression of long-term potentiation in CA3 hippocampal neurons

Science  07 Oct 1988:
Vol. 242, Issue 4875, pp. 84-87
DOI: 10.1126/science.2845578


Behavioral studies have suggested that muscarinic cholinergic systems have an important role in learning and memory. A muscarinic cholinergic agonist is now shown to affect synaptic plasticity in the CA3 region of the hippocampal slice. Long-term potentiation (LTP) of the mossy fiber-CA3 synapse was blocked by muscarine. Low concentrations of muscarine (1 micromolar) had little effect on low-frequency (0.2 hertz) synaptic stimulation but did significantly reduce the magnitude and probability of induction of LTP. Experiments under voltage clamp showed that muscarine blocked the increase in excitatory synaptic conductance normally associated with LTP at this synapse. These results suggest a possible role for cholinergic systems in synaptic plasticity.