Naloxone blocks long-term depression of excitatory transmission in rat CA1 hippocampus in vitro.

W. Francesconi, F. Berton, A. Demuro, S. G. Madamba, G. R. Siggins


In rat hippocampal slices, high intensity tetanic stimulation (two 1 s trains of 100 Hz separated by 20 s, 3-5X intensity of the test stimulus) of the Schaffer collateral-commissural (SCC) fibers induced a long-term depression (LTD) of the negative field excitatory postsynaptic potentials (fEPSP) in stratum radiatum of the CA1 region. The initial slope of the fEPSP, evoked by a single test shock applied to the SCC fibers, was depressed for a period longer than 40 min following such high intensity tetanic stimulation to this fiber system. However, the same tetanic stimulation delivered at low (test) intensity induced long-term potentiation (LTP) of the fEPSPs. Thus, similar patterns of stimulation can induce either LTP or LTD, depending on whether low- or high-intensity tetanic stimuli are delivered. The LTD induced by high strength tetanic stimulation was clearly blocked by the opioid antagonist naloxone (1 microM); however, the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist D-2-amino-5-phosphonopentanoate (AP5; 50 microM) had no effect on the LTD. Our data suggest that the strong stimulation used for LTD induction may have activated other afferent fiber systems and/or local interneurons in addition to SCC fibers, such as the enkephalin-containing terminals of the perforant path (PP) projecting to the stratum lacunosum moleculare or opioid peptide-containing interneurons. Thus, the resulting release of endogenous opioid peptides could play a role in the cellular mechanisms involved in some forms of long-term synaptic depression.

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