Cerebellar long-term depression (LTD) is a persistent attenuation of the parallel fiber-Purkinje neuron (PF-PN) synapse induced by conjunctive stimulation of PF and climbing fiber (CF) inputs. A similar phenomenon is seen in the voltage-clamped PN in tissue culture when iontophoretic quisqualate application and PN depolarization are substituted for PF and CF stimulation, respectively. In this model, LTD induction requires activation of both AMPA and metabotropic receptors, together with PN depolarization. We have sought to determine the role of the AMPA receptor in LTD induction. The AMPA receptor does not appear to exert its effect by directly gating Ca2+ influx. Replacement of external Na+ during quisqualate/depolarization conjunction with permeant ions caused a blockade of LTD induction, suggesting that Na+ influx through the AMPA-associated channel is necessary for this process. Similarly, pairing quisqualate pulses with depolarizing steps near ENa also failed to induce LTD. The present results indicate that postsynaptic Na+ influx is necessary for LTD induction. While a portion of the relevant Na+ influx is provided by voltage-gated channels, the AMPA-associated ion channel is most important in this regard.
ASJC Scopus subject areas