Investigations examining the role of polysialic acid (PSA) on the neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) in synaptic plasticity have yielded inconsistent data. Here, we addressed this issue by determining whether homosynaptic long-term potentiation (LTP) and heterosynaptic long-term depression (LTD) induce changes in the distribution of PSA-NCAM in the dentate gyrus (DG) of rats in vivo. In addition, we also examined whether the observed modifications were initiated via the activation of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. Immunocytochemical analysis showed an increase in PSA-NCAM positive cells both at 2 and 24h following high-frequency stimulation of either medial or lateral perforant paths, leading to homosynaptic LTP and heterosynaptic LTD, respectively, in the medial molecular layer of the DG. Analysis of sub-cellular distribution of PSA-NCAM by electron microscopy showed decreased PSA dendritic labelling in LTD rats and a sub-cellular relocation towards the spines in LTP rats. Importantly, these modifications were found to be independent of the activation of NMDA receptors. Our findings suggest that strong activation of the granule cells up-regulates PSA-NCAM synthesis which then incorporates into activated synapses, representing NMDA-independent plastic processes that act synergistically on LTP/LTD mechanisms without participating in their expression.
- Adhesion molecules
- Synaptic plasticity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology