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In the CA1 region of the rat hippocampus, long-term potentiation (LTP) requires the activation of NMDA receptors (NMDARs) and leads to an enhancement of AMPA receptor (AMPAR) function. In neonatal hippocampus, this increase in synaptic strength seems to be mediated by delivery of AMPARs to the synapse. Here we studied changes in surface expression of native AMPA and NMDA receptors following induction of LTP in the adult rat brain. In contrast to early postnatal rats, we find that LTP in the adult rat does not alter membrane association of AMPARs. Instead, LTP leads to rapid surface expression of NMDARs in a PKC- and Src-family-dependent manner. The present study suggests a developmental shift in the LTP-dependent trafficking of AMPA receptors. Moreover, our results indicate that insertion of NMDA receptors may be a key step in regulating synaptic plasticity.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Neurosci

Publication Date





27 - 33


Animals, Cell Fractionation, Cell Membrane, Chymotrypsin, Cross-Linking Reagents, Electrophysiology, Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists, Hippocampus, In Vitro Techniques, Long-Term Potentiation, Neurons, Protein Kinase C, Rats, Receptors, AMPA, Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate, Signal Transduction, src-Family Kinases