Non-Hebbian Long-Term Potentiation of Inhibitory Synapses in the Thalamus

Sieber, Andrea; Min, Rogier; Nevian, Thomas (2013). Non-Hebbian Long-Term Potentiation of Inhibitory Synapses in the Thalamus. Journal of neuroscience, 33(40), pp. 15675-15685. Society for Neuroscience 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0247-13.2013

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The thalamus integrates and transmits sensory information to the neocortex. The activity of thalamocortical relay (TC) cells is modulated by specific inhibitory circuits. Although this inhibition plays a crucial role in regulating thalamic activity, little is known about long-term changes in synaptic strength at these inhibitory synapses. Therefore, we studied long-term plasticity of inhibitory inputs to TC cells in the posterior medial nucleus of the thalamus by combining patch-clamp recordings with two-photon fluorescence microscopy in rat brain slices. We found that specific activity patterns in the postsynaptic TC cell induced inhibitory long-term potentiation (iLTP). This iLTP was non-Hebbian because it did not depend on the timing between presynaptic and postsynaptic activity, but it could be induced by postsynaptic burst activity alone. iLTP required postsynaptic dendritic Ca2+ influx evoked by low-threshold Ca2+ spikes. In contrast, tonic postsynaptic spiking from a depolarized membrane potential (−50 mV), which suppressed these low-threshold Ca2+ spikes, induced no plasticity. The postsynaptic dendritic Ca2+ increase triggered the synthesis of nitric oxide that retrogradely activated presynaptic guanylyl cyclase, resulting in the presynaptic expression of iLTP. The dependence of iLTP on the membrane potential and therefore on the postsynaptic discharge mode suggests that this form of iLTP might occur during sleep, when TC cells discharge in bursts. Therefore, iLTP might be involved in sleep state-dependent modulation of thalamic information processing and thalamic oscillations.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Physiology
10 Strategic Research Centers > Center for Cognition, Learning and Memory (CCLM)

UniBE Contributor:

Sieber, Andrea; Min, Rogier and Nevian, Thomas


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology




Society for Neuroscience




Stefan von Känel-Zimmermann

Date Deposited:

11 Jun 2014 15:04

Last Modified:

27 Jul 2015 10:55

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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