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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 8087401, 8 pages
Research Article

Functional Metaplasticity of Hippocampal Schaffer Collateral-CA1 Synapses Is Reversed in Chronically Epileptic Rats

1Oscar Langendorff Institute of Physiology, University of Rostock, Rostock, Germany
2School of Science and Technology, Nazarbayev University, 53 Kabanbay batyr ave., Astana 010000, Kazakhstan

Correspondence should be addressed to Timo Kirschstein

Received 3 April 2017; Revised 27 July 2017; Accepted 27 August 2017; Published 2 October 2017

Academic Editor: Michele Fornaro

Copyright © 2017 Mirko Rehberg et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Spatial learning and associating spatial information with individual experience are crucial for rodents and higher mammals. Hence, studying the cellular and molecular cascades involved in the key mechanism of information storage in the brain, synaptic plasticity, has led to enormous knowledge in this field. A major open question applies to the interdependence between synaptic plasticity and its behavioral correlates. In this context, it has become clear that behavioral aspects may impact subsequent synaptic plasticity, a phenomenon termed behavioral metaplasticity. Here, we trained control and pilocarpine-treated chronically epileptic rats of two different age groups (adolescent and adult) in a spatial memory task and subsequently tested long-term potentiation (LTP) in vitro at Schaffer collateral—CA1 synapses. As expected, memory acquisition in the behavioral task was significantly impaired both in pilocarpine-treated animals and in adult controls. Accordingly, these groups, without being tested in the behavioral training task, showed reduced CA1-LTP levels compared to untrained young controls. Spatial memory training significantly reduced subsequent CA1-LTP in vitro in the adolescent control group yet enhanced CA1-LTP in the adult pilocarpine-treated group. Such training in the adolescent pilocarpine-treated and adult control groups resulted in intermediate changes. Our study demonstrates age-dependent functional metaplasticity following a spatial memory training task and its reversal under pathological conditions.