The precise timing of pre-postsynaptic activity is vital for the induction of long-term potentiation (LTP) or depression (LTD) at many central synapses. We show in synapses of rat CA1 pyramidal neurons in vitro that spike timing dependent plasticity (STDP) protocols that induce LTP at glutamatergic synapses can evoke LTD of inhibitory postsynaptic currents or STDP-iLTD. The STDP-iLTD requires a postsynaptic Ca(2+) increase, a release of endocannabinoids (eCBs), the activation of type-1 endocananabinoid receptors and presynaptic muscarinic receptors that mediate a decreased probability of GABA release. In contrast, the STDP-iLTD is independent of the activation of nicotinic receptors, GABAB Rs and G protein-coupled postsynaptic receptors at pyramidal neurons. We determine that the downregulation of presynaptic Cyclic adenosine monophosphate/protein Kinase A pathways is essential for the induction of STDP-iLTD. These results suggest a novel mechanism by which the activation of cholinergic neurons and retrograde signaling by eCBs can modulate the efficacy of GABAergic synaptic transmission in ways that may contribute to information processing and storage in the hippocampus.
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