NMDA receptors have a dominant role in population spike-paired pulse facilitation in the dentate gyrus of urethane-anesthetized rats

Robert M. Joy, Timothy E Albertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Paired-pulse facilitation was studied at the perforant path-granule cell synapses in the dentate gyrus of urethane-anesthetized rats. Extracellular field potentials comprising excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs) and population spikes (PSs) were used to compare facilitation of both responses at interpulse intervals between 10 and 1000 ms. In this model system EPSPs, produced at stimulus intensities well below the PS threshold, exhibited paired-pulse facilitation (PPF) at intervals less than 40 ms. Between 40 and 100 ms both responses were of equal size and from 200 to 1000 ms the second response exhibited paired-pulse depression (PPD). With higher stimulus intensities, PSs exhibited early (10-30 ms) and late (400-1000 ms) PPD and intermediate interval (40-200 ms) PPF. The enhanced PS amplitude during facilitation was accompanied by a modest decrease in EPSP slope and increase in PS latencies to onset and to peak. If PS amplitude was increased to the same extent by simply increasing stimulus intensity, an increase in EPSP slope and decrease in PS latencies to onset and peak were observed. Current source-density analysis revealed that the current sink generated by synaptic activation of granule cell dendrites was indistinguishable between control and facilitated responses up to the onset of the PS. However, the facilitated response exhibited a marked increase in the duration and amplitude of current flowing into the dendrites during the late phase of the EPSP. PPF of the PS was attenuated or blocked by the administration of the known NMDA receptor-ion channel blockers, MK-801, dextromethorphan and ketamine. The depressant effects of these pharmacological agents on facilitation shared the same time course as facilitation itself, peaking at 60 ms and lasting approximately 200 ms. These data suggest that facilitation in this situation is due to postsynaptic rather than presynaptic modulations, and is based upon an increase in the NMDA-mediated component of the evoked response. No increase in transmitter release, per se, could be demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-282
Number of pages10
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 26 1993


  • Dentate gyrus
  • Evoked response
  • Hippocampus
  • MK-801
  • N-Methyl-d-aspartate receptor
  • Paired-pulse facilitation
  • Rat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'NMDA receptors have a dominant role in population spike-paired pulse facilitation in the dentate gyrus of urethane-anesthetized rats'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this