Excitatory Amino Acid Transmission and Synaptic Plasticity


in Excitatory Amino Acid Transmission in Health and Disease

Published in print October 2005 | ISBN: 9780195150025
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199865079 | DOI:
Excitatory Amino Acid Transmission and Synaptic Plasticity

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Activity-dependent, long-lasting synaptic enhancement induced by neuronal stimulation, known as long-term potentiation (LTP), is not unique to the hippocampus; rather, it seems to be a fundamental proper of most of the excitatory synapses in the brain. Furthermore, depending on activity patterns, synaptic modification may also result in long-term depression (LTD) of synaptic efficacy. Attempts to elucidate mechanisms underlying synaptic plasticity have been furthered by the observation that these can also be elicited in vitro preparations, including acute brain slices and cultured neurons. LTP and LTD have the ability to increase or decrease synaptic transmission for extended periods and thereby encode change into the central nervous system. These processes are often considered synaptic analogues of learning and memory, and therefore they are of fundamental importance to the understanding of these and related cognitive functions. This chapter focuses on the mechanisms of LTP and LTD, along with developmental plasticity, trophic effects of excitatory amino acids, and role of NMDA receptors in LTP and LTD.

Keywords: long-term potentiation; long-term depression; synaptic plasticity; excitatory synapses; synaptic transmission; developmental plasticity; excitatory amino acids; NMDA receptors

Chapter.  17778 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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