Normal spatial learning despite regional inhibition of LTP in mice lacking Thy-1.

Abstract

The process of learning involves stable changes in synaptic efficacy for which long-term potentiation (LTP) provides a widely adopted mammalian model. Synaptic modification induced by learning or LTP may involve the action of cell adhesion molecules. One such candidate is the ubiquitous neuronal glycoprotein Thy-1. In mice in which the gene encoding Thy-1 has been inactivated, we find a regionally selective impairment of LTP in vivo in the hippocampal formation: LTP is normal in area CA1 but strongly inhibited in the dentate gyrus. Spatial learning by Thy-1-deficient mice, as assessed in the watermaze, is unimpaired. Thus LTP in the cortical input to the dentate gyrus seems not to be required for spatial learning.

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