Age-related decrease in the N-methyl-D-aspartate(R)-mediated excitatory postsynaptic potential in hippocampal region CA1

C. A. Barnes, G. Rao, J. Shen

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Glutamatergic fast synaptic transmission is known to be altered with age in a region-specific manner in hippocampus of memory-impaired old rats. In the present experiment, presynaptic fiber potentials and non-N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA(R)) and NMDA(R)-mediated synaptic responses in CA1 were compared in three ages of behaviorally characterized male F-344 rats. In the CA1 region, old rats showed approximately equivalent reductions in non-NMDA(R) and NMDA(R)-excitatory postsynaptic potential amplitudes for a given size of presynaptic fiber potential. There was no change in magnitude of the presynaptic response itself at any stimulus level. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that there is a reduction in the number of Schaffer collateral synapses per presynaptic axon. This pattern of results in CA1 is very different from what is known to occur at the perforant path-granule cell synapse. In fascia dentata the non-NMDA(R)-mediated excitatory postsynaptic potential is increased in amplitude, although the NMDA(R)-mediated excitatory postsynaptic potential is reduced for a given presynaptic input. These data suggest that age-related functional alterations in neurotransmitter receptor subtypes occur differentially between closely-related anatomical subregions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)445-452
Number of pages8
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 1997



  • Aging
  • Glutamate receptors
  • LTP
  • Spatial memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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