Coactivation of D1 and D2 dopamine receptors is required for long-term synaptic depression in the striatum

Paolo Calabresi, Roberto Maj, Nicola B. Mercuri, Giorgio Bernardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Long-term changes of synaptic transmission following brief trains of high-frequency stimulation of excitatory pathways in the brain have attracted attention as a possible correlate of memory. In the cerebellum, concurrent activation of parallel fibers and climbing fibers leads to a long-term depression (LTD) of synaptic transmission, which may be the cellular substrate of motor learning in this structure. We report here for the first time that high-frequency stimulation of corticostriatal glutamatergic fibers in the striatum, another brain structure strongly involved in motor control, also induces LTD of synaptic transmission. Induction of striatal LTD is blocked either by SCH 23390, a D1 dopamine (DA) receptor antagonist or by l-sulpiride, a D2 DA receptor antagonist. The lesion of the nigrostriatal DAergic pathway abolishes LTD. After DA depletion, LTD can be restored by the application of exogenous DA. LTD can also be restored by coadministration of D1 and D2 DA receptor agonists, but not by the application of a single class of DA agonists alone. Our data show that coactivation of D1 and D2 DA receptors is required for LTD in the striatum. D1/D2 receptor cooperation in the induction of LTD may play a crucial role in the behavioural function of DA and in the therapeutic effects of DA agonists in Parkinson's disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-99
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Aug 3 1992


  • Dopamine receptor
  • Long-term depression
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Striatum
  • Synaptic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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