Paired-pulse depression in the superficial layers of the guinea-pig superior colliculus

Bettina Platt*, Deborah J. Withington

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Paired-pulse depression (PPD) and facilitation are found at many synapses in the central nervous system. In the present study, we aimed to characterise the paired-pulse behaviour of evoked postsynaptic potentials in the superficial layers of slices of the superior colliculus (SC) of adult guinea-pigs. We observed PPD for inter-stimulus intervals between 10 and 500 ms, for both high (90% of maximum) and low (30% of maximum) stimulus intensities. This depression could be converted into a facilitation when the probability of transmitter release was reduced in low Ca2+/high Mg2+ solution, but only when the low stimulus intensity was applied. Elimination of GABA(A) receptor mediated currents by bicuculline caused an enhanced general excitation and enhanced PPD. Application of the GABA(B) receptor antagonist CGP35348 reduced PPD, suggesting the contribution of slow inhibitory postsynaptic currents. The NMDA receptor antagonist D,L-amino-5- phosphonovaleric acid (APV) did not lead to major alterations of PPD. We conclude that presynaptic mechanisms affecting Ca2+-dependent glutamate release are crucial for PPD in the superficial SC. Nevertheless, postsynaptic inhibitory components and probably polysynaptic pathways also seem to contribute to PP behaviour in the SC. Moreover, PPD in the SC has a different profile compared with other brain areas. Here, PPD may be crucially involved in setting the threshold for novel vs. background stimulation, since the SC is known to trigger orienting responses towards novel sensory stimuli.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-139
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 1997


  • γ-Aminobutyric acid
  • Inhibition
  • N-Methyl-D-aspartate
  • Paired-pulse depression
  • Short-term plasticcity
  • Superior colliculus
  • Transmitter release


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