Actions of endogenous opioids on NMDA receptor-independent long-term potentiation in area CA3 of the hippocampus.
Previous studies have demonstrated that tetanization of hippocampal mossy fibers induces a long-term potentiation of non-tetanized (heterosynaptic) non-mossy fiber afferents (Schaffer collateral/commissural and fimbrial fibers). Tetanization of these non-mossy fiber afferents, in contrast, does not induce mossy fiber long-term potentiation, but induces a long-term depression of mossy fiber responses (Bradler and Barrionuevo, Synapse 4, 132-142, 1989). The synaptic activity necessary to evoke these heterosynaptic alterations of efficacy is not known. Specifically, the dependence of heterosynaptic efficacy on the activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors has not been assessed. In addition, the capability of different afferents to CA3 neurons to support alterations in heterosynaptic efficacy remains largely unknown. In the present study, heterosynaptic alterations of efficacy in the rat did not require the activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors. Mossy fibers supported N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor-independent heterosynaptic long-term depression, and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor-independent long-term potentiation. In contrast, non-mossy fiber afferents expressed N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor-independent heterosynaptic long-term potentiation induced by a mossy fiber tetanus, and an N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor-independent long-term depression, in addition to N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor-dependent homosynaptic long-term potentiation. The possibility that non-N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor activity in non-tetanized afferents is necessary for heterosynaptic long-term potentiation induction is discussed. Heterosynaptic long-term depression was induced in the absence of homosynaptic long-term potentiation, suggesting that these concomitant forms of synaptic plasticity rely on different mechanisms.