Interactions between neurons and glial cells in the brain may serve important functions in the development, maintenance, and plasticity of neural circuits. Fast neuron-glia synaptic transmission has been found between hippocampal neurons and NG2 cells, a distinct population of macroglia-like cells widely distributed in the brain. We report that these neuron-glia synapses undergo activity-dependent modifications analogous to long-term potentiation (LTP) at excitatory synapses, a hallmark of neuronal plasticity. However, unlike the induction of LTP at many neuron-neuron synapses, both induction and expression of LTP at neuron-NG2 synapses involve Ca2+-permeable AMPA receptors on NG2 cells.
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