In neural networks, information can be stored by altering the efficacy of synaptic transmission. Synaptic plasticity therefore provides a candidate mechanism underlying learning and memory. Since its initial discovery in 1973, long-term potentiation (LTP) has been in the spotlight as a cellular correlate of various forms of learning, particularly those mediated by the hippocampus. Later, it was discovered that synapses can also undergo long-term depression (LTD), often in an activity-dependent way. In this article, we describe the molecular and cellular mechanisms of LTD induction and expression at (1) hippocampal Schaffer collateral-CA1 pyramidal cell synapses and (2) parallel fiber and climbing fiber synapses, respectively, onto cerebellar Purkinje cells. Using these types of synapses as examples, we characterize the different roles of LTD and compare bidirectional plasticity mechanisms at hippocampal and cerebellar synapses.

Cerebellum, Hippocampus, Long-term depression, Long-term potentiation, Purkinje neuron, Pyramidal neuron,
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Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Hansel, C.R.W, & Bear, M.F. (2008). LTD - synaptic depression and memory storage. In Learning and Memory: A Comprehensive Reference (pp. 327–365). doi:10.1016/B978-012370509-9.00017-6