NMDA receptors and L-type voltage-gated Ca²⁺ channels mediate the expression of bidirectional homeostatic intrinsic plasticity in cultured hippocampal neurons

Neuroscience
K Y Lee, H J Chung

Abstract

Homeostatic plasticity is engaged when neurons need to stabilize their synaptic strength and excitability in response to acute or prolonged destabilizing changes in global activity. Compared to the extensive studies investigating the molecular mechanisms for homeostatic synaptic plasticity, the mechanism underlying homeostatic intrinsic plasticity is largely unknown. Through whole-cell patch-clamp recording in low-density cultures of dissociated hippocampal neurons, we demonstrate here that prolonged activity blockade induced by the sodium channel blocker tetrodotoxin (TTX) leads to increased action potential firing rates. Conversely, prolonged activity enhancement induced by the A-type gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor antagonist bicuculline (BC) results in decreased firing rates. Prolonged activity enhancement also enhanced potassium (K(+)) current through Kv1 channels, suggesting that changes in K(+) current, in part, mediate stabilization of hippocampal neuronal excitability upon prolonged activity elevation. In contrast to the previous reports showing that L-type voltage-gated calcium (Ca(2+)) channels solely mediate homeostatic regulation of excitatory synaptic strength (Ibata et al., 2008; Goold and Nicoll, 2010), inhibit...Continue Reading

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