Tissue plasminogen activator controls multiple forms of synaptic plasticity and memory

Paolo Calabresi, Maddalena Napolitano, Diego Centonze, Girolama A. Marfia, Paolo Gubellini, Martine Ammassari Teule, Nicola Berretta, Giorgio Bernardi, Luigi Frati, Massimo Tolu, Alberto Gulino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Induction of long-term depression (LTD) in rat striatal slices revealed that this form of synaptic plasticity is coupled to an increased expression of tissue-plasminogen activator (t-PA) mRNA, as detected by the mRNA differential display technique. To further investigate the involvement of this gene in synaptic remodelling following striatal LTD, we recorded electrical activity from mice lacking the gene encoding t-PA (t-PA-KO) and from wild-type (WT) mice. Tetanic stimulation induced LTD in the large majority of striatal neurons recorded from WT mice. Conversely, LTD was absent in a significant proportion of striatal neurons obtained from mice lacking t-PA. Electrophysiological recordings obtained from hippocampal slices in the CA1 area showed that mainly the late phase of long-term potentiation (LTP) was reduced in t-PA-KO mice. Learning and memory-related behavioural abnormalities were also found in these transgenic mice. Disruption of the t-PA gene, in fact, altered both the context conditioning test, a hippocampus-related behavioural task, and the two-way active avoidance, a striatum-dependent task. In an open field object exploration task, t-PA-KO mice expressed deficits in habituation and reactivity to spatial change that are consistent with an altered hippocampal function. Nevertheless, decreased rearing and poor initial object exploration were also observed, further suggesting an altered striatal function. These data indicate that t-PA plays a critical role in the formation of various forms of synaptic plasticity and memory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1002-1012
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Learning
  • Long-term depression
  • Long-term potentiation
  • Synaptic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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    Calabresi, P., Napolitano, M., Centonze, D., Marfia, G. A., Gubellini, P., Teule, M. A., Berretta, N., Bernardi, G., Frati, L., Tolu, M., & Gulino, A. (2000). Tissue plasminogen activator controls multiple forms of synaptic plasticity and memory. European Journal of Neuroscience, 12(3), 1002-1012. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1460-9568.2000.00991.x