Intact cholinergic innervation from the medial septum and noradrenergic innervation from the locus ceruleus are required for hippocampal-dependent learning and memory. However, much remains unclear about the precise roles of acetylcholine (ACh) and norepinephrine (NE) in hippocampal function, particularly in terms of how interactions between these two transmitter systems might play an important role in synaptic plasticity. Previously, we reported that activation of either muscarinic M1 or adrenergic α1 receptors induces activity-and NMDA receptor-dependent long-term depression (LTD) at CA3-CA1 synapses in acute hippocampal slices, referred to as muscarinic LTD (mLTD) and norepinephrine LTD (NE LTD), respectively. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that mLTD and NE LTD are independent forms of LTD, yet require activation of a common Gαq-coupled signaling pathway for their induction, and investigated the net effect of coactivation of M1 and α1 receptors on the magnitude of LTD induced. We find that neither mLTD nor NE LTD requires phospholipase C activation, but both plasticities are prevented by inhibiting the Src kinase family and extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK) activation. Interestingly, LTD can be induced when M 1 and α1 agonists are coapplied at concentrations too low to induce LTD when applied separately, via a summed increase in ERK activation. Thus, because ACh and NE levels in vivo covary, especially during periods of memory encoding and consolidation, cooperative signaling through M1 and α1 receptors could function to induce long-term changes in synaptic function important for cognition.
- Synaptic plasticity
ASJC Scopus subject areas