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Gliogenic LTP spreads widely in nociceptive pathways

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Science  10 Nov 2016:
aah5715
DOI: 10.1126/science.aah5715

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Abstract

Learning and memory formation involve long-term potentiation of synaptic strength (LTP). A fundamental feature of LTP induction in the brain is the need for coincident pre- and postsynaptic activity. This restricts LTP expression to activated synapses only (homosynaptic LTP) and leads to its input specificity. In the spinal cord, we discovered a fundamentally different form of LTP that is induced by glial cell activation and mediated by diffusible, extracellular messengers, including D-serine and tumor necrosis factor (TNF), and that travel long distances via the cerebrospinal fluid, thereby affecting susceptible synapses at remote sites. The properties of this gliogenic LTP resolve unexplained findings of memory traces in nociceptive pathways and may underlie forms of widespread pain hypersensitivity.

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