It is well documented that the hormone leptin regulates many central functions and that hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons are a key target for leptin action. Indeed, leptin modulates excitatory synaptic transmission and synaptic plasticity at the Schaffer-collateral (SC) input to CA1 neurons. However the impact of leptin on the direct temporoammonic (TA) input to CA1 neurons is not known. Here we show that leptin evokes a long lasting increase (LTP) in excitatory synaptic transmission at TA-CA1 synapses in rat juvenile hippocampus. Leptin-induced LTP was NMDA receptor-dependent and specifically involved the activation of GluN2B subunits. The signalling pathways underlying leptin-induced LTP involve the activation of PI 3-kinase, but were independent of the ERK signalling cascade. Moreover, insertion of GluA2-lacking AMPA receptors was required for leptin-induced LTP as prior application of philanthotoxin prevented the effects of leptin. In addition, synaptic-induced LTP occluded the persistent increase in synaptic efficacy induced by leptin. In conclusion, these data indicate that leptin induces a novel form of NMDA receptor-dependent LTP at juvenile TA-CA1 synapses, which has important implications for the role of leptin in modulating hippocampal synaptic function in health and disease.
- Synaptic plasticity