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The effect of two types of electrical stimulation designed to induce long-lasting plasticity of the Schaffer/commissural inputs to CA1 pyramidal neurons was investigated using in vitro hippocampal slices made from young (3-6 month) and old (24-27 month) Fischer 344 rats. The first stimulation paradigm, primed burst (PB) stimulation, consisted of a total of five physiologically patterned stimuli: a single priming pulse followed 170 ms later by a burst of four pulses at 200 Hz. The second stimulation paradigm, long-term potentiation (LTP) stimulation, consisted of a 200 Hz/1 second train (a total of 200 stimuli). Primed burst and LTP stimulation were equally effective at inducing a lasting increase in the population spike recorded from slices made from young rats. However, the enhancement of population spike amplitude produced by PB, but not LTP, stimulation was significantly less in slices made from old rats. These results suggest that the capacity of the hippocampus to demonstrate long-lasting synaptic plasticity is not altered with age, but that engaging plasticity-inducing mechanisms becomes more difficult. Furthermore, these data suggest that physiologically patterned paradigms for inducing long-lasting synaptic plasticity may more accurately assess the functional status of hippocampal memory encoding mechanisms than does conventional LTP stimulation.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





57 - 66


Action Potentials, Animals, Electric Stimulation, Hippocampus, Male, Memory, Neuronal Plasticity, Rats, Rats, Inbred F344, Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate