Glutamate-triggered events inducing corticostriatal long-term depression

Paolo Calabresi, Diego Centonze, Paolo Gubellini, Girolama A. Marfia, Giorgio Bernardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Repetitive activation of corticostriatal fibers produces longterm depression (LTD) of excitatory synaptic potentials recorded from striatal spiny neurons. This form of synaptic plasticity might be considered the possible neural basis of some forms of motor learning and memory. In the present study, intracellular recordings were performed from rat corticostriatal slice preparations to study the role of glutamate and other critical factors underlying striatal LTD. In current-clamp, but not in voltage-clamp experiments, brief focal applications of glutamate, as well as high-frequency stimulation (HFS) of corticostriatal fibers, induced LTD. This pharmacological LTD and the HFS-induced LTD were mutually occlusive, suggesting that both forms of synaptic plasticity share common induction mechanisms. Isolated activation of either non-NMDA-ionotropic glutamate receptors (iGluRs) or metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs), respectively by AMPA and t-ACPD failed to produce significant long-term changes of corticostriatal synaptic transmission. Conversely, LTD was obtained after the simultaneous application of AMPA plus t-ACPD. Moreover, also quisqualate, a compound that activates both iGluRs and group I mGluRs, was able to induce this form of pharmacological LTD. Electrical depolarization of the recorded neurons either alone or in the presence of t-ACPD and dopamine (DA) failed to mimic the effects of the activation of glutamate receptors in inducing LTD. However, electrical depolarization was able to induce LTD when preceded by coadministration of t-ACPD, DA, and a low dose of hydroxylamine, a compound generating nitric oxide (NO) in the tissue. None of these com- pounds alone produced LTD. Glutamate-induced LTD, as well as the HFS-induced LTD, was blocked by L-sulpiride, a D2 DA receptor antagonist, and by 7-nitroindazole monosodium salt, a NO synthase inhibitor. The present study indicates that four main factors are required to induce corticostriatal LTD: (1) membrane depolarization of the postsynaptic neuron; (2) activation of mGluRs; (3) activation of DA receptors; and (4) release of NO from striatal interneurons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6102-6110
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Jul 15 1999


  • Dopamine
  • Excitatory amino acids
  • Metabotropic glutamate receptors
  • Motor learning
  • Nitric oxide
  • Striatum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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