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Strain-dependent Differences in LTP and Hippocampus-dependent Memory in Inbred Mice

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
Publication Date
  • Research Paper
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Many studies have used “reverse” genetics to produce “knock-out” and transgenic mice to explore the roles of various molecules in long-term potentiation (LTP) and spatial memory. The existence of a variety of inbred strains of mice provides an additional way of exploring the genetic bases of learning and memory. We examined behavioral memory and LTP expression in area CA1 of hippocampal slices prepared from four different inbred strains of mice: C57BL/6J, CBA/J, DBA/2J, and 129/SvEms-+Ter?/J. We found that LTP induced by four 100-Hz trains of stimulation was robust and long-lasting in C57BL/6J and DBA/2J mice but decayed in CBA/J and 129/SvEms-+Ter?/J mice. LTP induced by one 100-Hz train was significantly smaller after 1 hr in the 129/SvEms-+Ter?/J mice than in the other three strains. Theta-burst LTP was shorter lasting in CBA/J, DBA/2J, and 129/SvEms-+Ter?/J mice than in C57BL/6J mice. We also observed specific memory deficits, among particular mouse strains, in spatial and nonspatial tests of hippocampus-dependent memory. CBA/J mice showed defective learning in the Morris water maze, and both DBA/2J and CBA/J strains displayed deficient long-term memory in contextual and cued fear conditioning tests. Our findings provide strong support for a genetic basis for some forms of synaptic plasticity that are linked to behavioral long-term memory and suggest that genetic background can influence the electrophysiological and behavioral phenotypes observed in genetically modified mice generated for elucidating the molecular bases of learning, memory, and LTP.

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