Dendritic mechanisms controlling the threshold and timing requirement of synaptic plasticity

Cuiping Zhao, Lang Wang, Theoden Netoff, Li Lian Yuan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Active conductances located and operating on neuronal dendrites are expected to regulate synaptic integration and plasticity. We investigate how Kv4.2-mediated A-type K + channels and Ca 2+-activated K + channels are involved in the induction process of Hebbian-type plasticity that requires correlated pre- and postsynaptic activities. In CA1 pyramidal neurons, robust long-term potentiation (LTP) induced by a theta burst pairing protocol usually occurred within a narrow window during which incoming synaptic potentials coincided with postsynaptic depolarization. Elimination of dendritic A-type K + currents in Kv4.2 -/- mice, however, resulted in an expanded time window, making the induction of synaptic potentiation less dependent on the temporal relation of pre- and postsynaptic activity. For the other type of synaptic plasticity, long-term depression, the threshold was significantly increased in Kv4.2 -/- mice. This shift in depression threshold was restored to normal when the appropriate amount of internal free calcium was chelated during induction. In concert with A-type channels, Ca 2+-activated K + channels also exerted a sliding effect on synaptic plasticity. Blocking these channels in Kv4.2 -/- mice resulted in an even larger potentiation while by contrast, the depression threshold was shifted further. In conclusion, dendritic A-type and Ca 2+-activated K + channels dually regulate the timing-dependence and thresholds of synaptic plasticity in an additive way.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)288-297
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Dendrite
  • Metaplasticity
  • Potassium channel
  • Pyramidal neuron
  • Temporal window


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