Learning-related modifications in predisposition for long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD) were studied in brain slices of the rat piriform cortex following olfactory learning. Rats were trained to discriminate between pairs of odors until they demonstrated rule learning. We have previously shown that such training is accompanied by enhanced neuronal excitability and increased synaptic transmission in the intrinsic synaptic pathway. Here we show that the susceptibility for further enhancing synaptic connectivity by inducing LTP in slices from trained rats is markedly reduced after training, compared with slices from pseudo-trained and naive rats. Accordingly, while 900 stimuli at 1 Hz did not induce LTD in slices from control rats, it induced significant LTD in slices from trained rats. Post-tetanic potentiation (PTP) was also reduced after training, indicating that synaptic release is enhanced after odor learning, as previously suggested. We suggest that learning-related cellular modifications and activity-dependent synaptic plasticity share a common mechanism in the primary olfactory cortex. Our data also support the prediction generated according to the sliding modification threshold theory that learning should be accompanied by reduced capability of inducing LTP and increased susceptibility for LTD induction.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cognitive Neuroscience