Cerebellar long-term depression (LTD) is a model of synaptic plasticity in which conjunctive stimulation of parallel fiber and climbing fiber inputs to a Purkinje neuron induces a persistent depression of the parallel fiber-Purkinje neuron synapse. We report that an analogous phenomenon may be elicited in the cultured mouse Purkinje neuron when iontophoretic glutamate application and depolarization of the Purkinje neurons are substituted for parallel fiber and climbing fiber stimulation, respectively. The induction of LTD in these cerebellar cultures requires activation of both ionotropic (AMPA) and metabotropic quisqualate receptors, together with depolarization in the presence of external Ca2+. This postsynaptic alteration is manifest as a depression of glutamate or AMPA currents, but not aspartate or NMDA currents. These results strengthen the contention that the expression of cerebellar LTD is at least in part postsynaptic and provide evidence that activation of both ionotropic and metabotropic quisqualate receptors are necessary for LTD induction.
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