Journal Article

Activation of Muscarinic M1 Acetylcholine Receptors Induces Long-Term Potentiation in the Hippocampus

Siobhan H. Dennis, Francesca Pasqui, Ellen M. Colvin, Helen Sanger, Adrian J. Mogg, Christian C. Felder, Lisa M. Broad, Steve M. Fitzjohn, John T.R. Isaac and Jack R. Mellor

in Cerebral Cortex

Volume 26, issue 1, pages 414-426
Published in print January 2016 | ISSN: 1047-3211
Published online October 2015 | e-ISSN: 1460-2199 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhv227

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Muscarinic M1 acetylcholine receptors (M1Rs) are highly expressed in the hippocampus, and their inhibition or ablation disrupts the encoding of spatial memory. It has been hypothesized that the principal mechanism by which M1Rs influence spatial memory is by the regulation of hippocampal synaptic plasticity. Here, we use a combination of recently developed, well characterized, selective M1R agonists and M1R knock-out mice to define the roles of M1Rs in the regulation of hippocampal neuronal and synaptic function. We confirm that M1R activation increases input resistance and depolarizes hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons and show that this profoundly increases excitatory postsynaptic potential-spike coupling. Consistent with a critical role for M1Rs in synaptic plasticity, we now show that M1R activation produces a robust potentiation of glutamatergic synaptic transmission onto CA1 pyramidal neurons that has all the hallmarks of long-term potentiation (LTP): The potentiation requires NMDA receptor activity and bi-directionally occludes with synaptically induced LTP. Thus, we describe synergistic mechanisms by which acetylcholine acting through M1Rs excites CA1 pyramidal neurons and induces LTP, to profoundly increase activation of CA1 pyramidal neurons. These features are predicted to make a major contribution to the pro-cognitive effects of cholinergic transmission in rodents and humans.

Keywords: CA1; hippocampus; long-term potentiation; muscarinic m1 receptor; synaptic plasticity

Journal Article.  7937 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neurology ; Clinical Neuroscience ; Neuroscience

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