Extracellular ATP as a neurotransmitter: its role in synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus
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Growing evidence indices that ATP may play a very important role in Long-Term Potentiation (LTP), a neurophysiological process that has been implicated in memory formation.LTP is an enhancement of synaptic strength induced by a specific pattern of high frequency stimulation, or by application of exogenous ATP.In the hippocampus LTP-inducing stimulation is accompanied by a massive Ca2+ -dependent release of ATP from presympatic terminals.Released extracellular ATP may either intract with numerous types of ATP receptors present on the neuronal surface, or serve as a substrate for ecto-protein phosphorylation.The results of combined electrophysiological and biochemical experiments indicate that participation of extracellular ATP in the ecto-protein phosphorylation process is most likely involved in the permanent amplification of the synaptic response in the hippocampus.
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