Involvement of cellular metabolism in age-related LTP modifications in rat hippocampal slices.

PMID 26101857


Recent studies emphasized crucial role of astrocytic glycogen metabolism in regulation of synaptic transmission and plasticity in young animals. However, the interplay between age-related synaptic plasticity impairments and changes in energetic metabolism remains obscure. To address this issue, we investigated, in hippocampal slices of young (one month) and aged rats (20-22-months), the impact of glycogen degradation inhibition on LTP, mRNA expression for glycogen metabolism enzymes and morphology of dendritic spines. We show that, whereas in young hippocampi, inhibition of glycogen phosphorolysis disrupts the late phase of LTP in the Schaffer collateral-CA1 pathway, in aged rats, blockade of glycogen phosphorylase tends to enhance it. Gene expression for key energy metabolism enzymes, such as glycogen synthase and phosphorylase and glutamine synthetase showed marked differences between young and aged groups and changes in expression of these enzymes preceded plasticity phenomena. Interestingly, in the aged group, a prominent expression of these enzymes was found also in neurons. Concluding, we show that LTP in the considered pathway is differentially modulated by metabolic processes in young and aging animals, indicating a novel venue of studies aiming at preventing cognitive decline during aging.