Learning-induced enhancement of postsynaptic potentials in pyramidal neurons

Drorit Saar, Yoram Grossman, Edi Barkai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We studied the effect of olfactory learning-induced modifications in piriform (olfactory) cortex pyramidal neurons on the propagation of postsynaptic potentials (PSPs). Rats were trained to distinguish between odors in pairs, in an olfactory discrimination task. Three days after training completion, PSPs were evoked in layer II pyramidal cells in piriform cortex brain slices by electrical stimulation of two pathways. Stimulation of layer Ib activated the intra-cortical fibers that terminate on the proximal region of the apical and basal dendrites. Stimulation of layer Ia activated the afferent axons that originate from the olfactory bulb and terminate on the distal apical dendrites. We have previously shown that olfactory training is accompanied by enhanced synaptic transmission in the intrinsic pathway, but not in the afferent pathway at 3 days after training. Here we show that at this stage, in both pathways PSPs evoked in neurons from trained rats had significantly faster rise time measured at the soma compared with PSPs in neurons from pseudo-trained and naive rats. Activation of the slow afterhyperpolarization (AHP), which is generated by potassium channels probably located at the proximal region of both apical and basal dendrites, reduced the amplitude measured at the soma of the proximal intrinsic pathway PSPs more effectively than PSPs that were generated distally by the afferent fibers. Thus the amount of reduction by AHP was used as a measure for the relative distance of PSP-generating sites from the soma. In neurons from trained rats, despite the previously reported reduction in AHP amplitude, AHP conductance shunted the PSPs from both synaptic pathways more efficiently compared with neurons from the control rats. We suggest that in neurons from trained rats PSPs are electrotonicly closer to the soma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2358-2363
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • General Neuroscience


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