Circadian regulation of hippocampal long-term potentiation
The goal of this study is to investigate the possible circadian regulation of hippocampal excitability and long-term potentiation (LTP) measured by stimulating the Schaffer collaterals (SC) and recording the field excitatory postsynaptic potential (fEPSP) from the CA1 dendritic layer or the population spike (PS) from the soma in brain slices of C3H and C57 mice. These 2 strains of mice were of interest because the C3H mice secrete melatonin rhythmically while the C57 mice do not. The authors found that the magnitude of the enhancement of the PS was significantly greater in UP recorded from night slices compared to day slices of both C3H and C57 mice. They also found significant diurnal variation in the decay of UP measured with fEPSPs, with the decay slower during the night in both strains of mice. There was evidence for a diurnal rhythm in the input/output function of pyramidal neurons measured at the soma in C57 but not C3H mice. Furthermore, UP in the PS, measured in slices prepared during the day but recorded during the night, had a profile remarkably similar to the night group. Finally, PS recordings were carried out in slices from C3H mice maintained in constant darkness prior to experimentation. Again, the authors found that the magnitude of the enhancement of the PS was significantly greater in LTP recorded from subjective night slices compared to subjective day slices. These results provide the 1st evidence that an endogenous circadian oscillator modulates synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus.