Long-term potentiation in cultured hippocampal neurons

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Studies performed on low-density primary neuronal cultures have enabled dissection of molecular and cellular changes during N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor-dependent long-term potentiation (LTP). Various electrophysiological and chemical induction protocols were developed for the persistent enhancement of excitatory synaptic transmission in hippocampal neuronal cultures. The characterisation of these plasticity models confirmed that they share many key properties with the LTP of CA1 neurons, extensively studied in hippocampal slices using electrophysiological techniques. For example, LTP in dissociated hippocampal neuronal cultures is also dependent on Ca(2+) influx through post-synaptic NMDA receptors, subsequent activation and autophosphorylation of the Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) and an increase in alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionate (AMPA) receptor insertion at the post-synaptic membrane. The availability of models of LTP in cultured hippocampal neurons significantly facilitated the monitoring of changes in endogenous postsynaptic receptor proteins and the investigation of the associated signalling mechanisms that underlie LTP. A central feature of LTP of excitatory synapses is the recruitment of AMPA receptors at the postsynaptic site. Results from the use of cell culture-based models started to establish the mechanism by which synaptic input controls a neuron's ability to modify its synapses in LTP. This review focuses on key features of various LTP induction protocols in dissociated hippocampal neuronal cultures and the applications of these plasticity models for the investigation of activity-induced changes in native AMPA receptors.
Translated title of the contributionLong-term potentiation in cultured hippocampal neurons
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)506 - 513
Number of pages8
JournalSeminars in Cell and Developmental Biology
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Elsevier


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