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The role of nitric oxide in pre-synaptic plasticity and homeostasis

Hardingham, Neil Robert, Dachtler, James ORCID: and Fox, Kevin Dyson ORCID: 2013. The role of nitric oxide in pre-synaptic plasticity and homeostasis. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience 7 , 190. 10.3389/fncel.2013.00190

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Since the observation that nitric oxide (NO) can act as an intercellular messenger in the brain, the past 25 years have witnessed the steady accumulation of evidence that it acts pre-synaptically at both glutamatergic and GABAergic synapses to alter release-probability in synaptic plasticity. NO does so by acting on the synaptic machinery involved in transmitter release and, in a coordinated fashion, on vesicular recycling mechanisms. In this review, we examine the body of evidence for NO acting as a retrograde factor at synapses, and the evidence from in vivo and in vitro studies that specifically establish NOS1 (neuronal nitric oxide synthase) as the important isoform of NO synthase in this process. The NOS1 isoform is found at two very different locations and at two different spatial scales both in the cortex and hippocampus. On the one hand it is located diffusely in the cytoplasm of a small population of GABAergic neurons and on the other hand the alpha isoform is located discretely at the post-synaptic density (PSD) in spines of pyramidal cells. The present evidence is that the number of NOS1 molecules that exist at the PSD are so low that a spine can only give rise to modest concentrations of NO and therefore only exert a very local action. The NO receptor guanylate cyclase is located both pre- and post-synaptically and this suggests a role for NO in the coordination of local pre- and post-synaptic function during plasticity at individual synapses. Recent evidence shows that NOS1 is also located post-synaptic to GABAergic synapses and plays a pre-synaptic role in GABAergic plasticity as well as glutamatergic plasticity. Studies on the function of NO in plasticity at the cellular level are corroborated by evidence that NO is also involved in experience-dependent plasticity in the cerebral cortex.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Uncontrolled Keywords: LTP (Long Term Potentiation), synaptic plasticity, NOS1, experience-dependent plasticity, guanylate cyclase
Additional Information: Online publication date: 31 October 2013.
Publisher: Frontiers Media
ISSN: 1662-5102
Funders: MRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 15:53

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