Although metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs) have been proposed to play a role in corticostriatal long-term depression (LTD), the specific receptor subtype required for this form of synaptic plasticity has not been characterized yet. Thus, we utilized a corticostriatal brain slice preparation and intracellular recordings from striatal spiny neurons to address this issue. We observed that both AIDA (100 microM) and LY 367385 (30 microM), two blockers of mGluR1s, were able to fully prevent the induction of this form of synaptic plasticity, whereas MPEP (30 microM), a selective antagonist of the mGluR5 subtype, did not significantly affect the amplitude and time-course of corticostriatal LTD. Both AIDA and LY 367385 were ineffective on LTD when applied after its induction. The critical role of mGluR1s in the formation of corticostriatal LTD was confirmed in experiments performed on mice lacking mGluR1s. In these mice, in fact, a significant reduction of the LTD amplitude was observed in comparison to the normal LTD measured in their wild-type counterparts. We found that neither acute pharmacological blockade of mGluR1s nor the genetic disruption of these receptors affected the presynaptic modulation of corticostriatal excitatory postsynapic potentials (EPSPs) exerted by DCG-IV and L-SOP, selective agonists of group II and III mGluRs, respectively. Our data show that the induction of corticostriatal LTD requires the activation of mGluR1 but not mGluR5. mGluR1-mediated control of this form of synaptic plasticity may play a role in the modulatory effect exerted by mGluRs in the basal ganglia-related motor activity.
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