2013 Volume 89 Issue 5 Pages 183-195
Cerebellar long-term depression (LTD) is a type of synaptic plasticity and has been considered as a critical cellular mechanism for motor learning. LTD occurs at excitatory synapses between parallel fibers and a Purkinje cell in the cerebellar cortex, and is expressed as reduced responsiveness to transmitter glutamate. Molecular induction mechanism of LTD has been intensively studied using culture and slice preparations, which has revealed critical roles of Ca2+, protein kinase C and endocytosis of AMPA-type glutamate receptors. Involvement of a large number of additional molecules has also been demonstrated, and their interactions relevant to LTD mechanisms have been studied. In vivo experiments including those on mutant mice, have reported good correlation of LTD and motor learning. However, motor learning could occur with impaired LTD. A possibility that cerebellar synaptic plasticity other than LTD compensates for the defective LTD has been proposed.
(Communicated by Masao ITO, M.J.A.)