Pyramidal neurons in the piriform cortex from olfactory-discrimination trained rats show enhanced intrinsic neuronal excitability that lasts for several days after learning. Such enhanced intrinsic excitability is mediated by long-term reduction in the post-burst after-hyperpolarization (AHP) which is generated by repetitive spike firing. AHP reduction is due to decreased conductance of a calcium-dependent potassium current, the sIAHP. We have previously shown that learning-induced AHP reduction is maintained by persistent protein kinase C (PKC) and extracellular regulated kinase (ERK) activation. However, the molecular machinery underlying this long-lasting modulation of intrinsic excitability is yet to be fully described. Here we examine whether the CaMKII, which is known to be crucial in learning, memory and synaptic plasticity processes, is instrumental for the maintenance of learning-induced AHP reduction. KN93, that selectively blocks CaMKII autophosphorylation at Thr286, reduced the AHP in neurons from trained and control rat to the same extent. Consequently, the differences in AHP amplitude and neuronal adaptation between neurons from trained rats and controls remained. Accordingly, the level of activated CaMKII was similar in pirifrom cortex samples taken form trained and control rats. Our data show that although CaMKII modulates the amplitude of AHP of pyramidal neurons in the piriform cortex, its activation is not required for maintaining learning-induced enhancement of neuronal excitability.
ASJC Scopus subject areas