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Protein kinase C activity is not responsible for the expression of long-term potentiation in hippocampus.


Long-term potentiation (LTP) in hippocampus has been proposed to result from a tonic activation of protein kinase C. This hypothesis predicts that stimulation of the kinase would produce a smaller change in response size on potentiated versus control pathways and, conversely, that inhibition of the kinase would reduce potentiated inputs to a greater degree than control responses. We tested these predictions using phorbol esters to activate and using the antagonist H-7 to inhibit protein kinase C; we found that the actions of these drugs on synaptic transmission were not affected by prior induction of LTP. Both compounds, however, significantly decreased the contribution of N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors to synaptic potentials, a result that accounts for the suppressive effects of these compounds on LTP formation. Thus protein kinase C is probably not involved in the expression of LTP but may play a role in the receptor-mediated events participating in its induction.

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