Nature communications

Synaptic tagging and capture in the living rat.

PMID 23212375


In isolated hippocampal slices, decaying long-term potentiation can be stabilized and converted to late long-term potentiation lasting many hours, by prior or subsequent strong high-frequency tetanization of an independent input to a common population of neurons-a phenomenon known as 'synaptic tagging and capture'. Here we show that the same phenomenon occurs in the intact rat. Late long-term potentiation can be induced in CA1 during the inhibition of protein synthesis if an independent input is strongly tetanized beforehand. Conversely, declining early long-term potentiation induced by weak tetanization can be converted into lasting late long-term potentiation by subsequent strong tetanization of a separate input. These findings indicate that synaptic tagging and capture is not limited to in vitro preparations; the past and future activity of neurons has a critical role in determining the persistence of synaptic changes in the living animal, thus providing a bridge between cellular studies of protein synthesis-dependent synaptic potentiation and behavioural studies of memory persistence.