Activity-dependent synaptic plasticity in the superficial layers of juvenile cat and adult rat visual neocortex was compared with that in adult rat hippocampal field CA1. Stimulation of neocortical layer IV reliably induced synaptic long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD) in layer IIII with precisely the same types of stimulation protocols that were effective in CA1. Neocortical LTP and LTD were specific to the conditioned pathway and, as in the hippocampus, were dependent on activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors. These results provide strong support for the view that common principles may govern experience-dependent synaptic plasticity in CA1 and throughout the superficial layers of the mammalian neocortex.
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