Bidirectional redistribution of AMPA but not NMDA receptors after perforant path simulation in the adult rat hippocampus in vivo

D. E. Moga, M. L. Shapiro, John Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Long-term potentiation (LTP) in vitro reveals dynamic regulation of synaptic glutamate receptors. AMPA receptors may be inserted into synapses to increase neurotransmission, whereas NMDA receptors may redistribute within the synapse to alter the probability of subsequent plasticity. To date, the only evidence for these receptor dynamics in the hippocampus is from the studies of dissociated neurons and hippocampal slices taken from young animals. Although synaptic plasticity is induced easily, the extent of AMPA and NMDA receptor mobility after LTP is unknown in the adult, intact hippocampus. To test whether AMPA or NMDAR subunits undergo activity-dependent modifications in adult hippocampal synapses, we induced LTP at perforant path-dentate gyrus (DG) synapses in anesthetized adult rats, using high frequency stimulation (HFS), verified layer-specific Arc induction, and analyzed the distribution of postsynaptic AMPA and NMDAR subunits, using immunogold electron microscopy. The number of synapses with AMPA receptor labeling increased with LTP-inducing HFS in the stimulated region of the dendrite relative to the nonstimulated regions. The opposite trend was noted with low frequency stimulation (LFS). Moreover, HFS increased and LFS decreased the ratio of synaptic to extrasynaptic AMPA receptor labeling in the postsynaptic membrane. In contrast, HFS did not significantly alter NMDAR labeling. Thus, LTP in the adult hippocampus in vivo selectively enhanced AMPA but not NMDAR labeling specifically in synapses undergoing activity-dependent plasticity relative to the remainder of the dendritic tree. The results suggest a mechanism by which rapid adjustments in synaptic strength can occur through localized AMPA receptor mobility and that this process may be competitive across the dendritic tree.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)990-1003
Number of pages14
Issue number11
StatePublished - Dec 11 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Dentate gyrus
  • Electron miscroscopy
  • Glutamate receptors
  • Synaptic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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