Synaptic strengthening through activation of Ca2+-permeable AMPA receptors

J. G. Gu, C. Albuquerque, C. J. Lee, A. B. MacDermott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

212 Citations (Scopus)


Postsynaptic Ca2+ elevation during synaptic transmission is an important trigger for short- and long-term changes in synaptic strength in the vertebrate central nervous system. The AMPA (α-amino-3-hydroxy-5- methyl-4-isoxazoleproprionate) receptors, a subfamily of glutamate receptors, mediate much of the excitatory synaptic transmission in the brain and spinal cord. It has been shown that a subtype of the AMPA receptor is Ca2+- permeable and is present in subpopulations of neurons. When synaptically localized, these receptors should mediate postsynaptic Ca2+ influx, providing a trigger for changes in synaptic strength. Here we show that Ca2+-permeable AMPA receptors are synaptically localized on a subpopulation of dorsal horn neurons, that they provide a synaptically gated route of Ca2+ entry, and that activation of these receptors strengthens synaptic transmission mediated by AMPA receptors. This pathway for postsynaptic Ca2+ influx may provide a new form of activity-dependent modulation of synaptic strength.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)793-796
Number of pages4
Issue number6585
Publication statusPublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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