Blocking the BK channel impedes acquisition of trace eyeblink conditioning

Elizabeth A. Matthews, John F. Disterhoft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Big-K+ conductance (BK)-channel mediated fast afterhyperpolarizations (AHPs) following action potentials are reduced after eyeblink conditioning. Blocking BK channels with paxilline increases evoked firing frequency in vitro and spontaneous pyramidal activity in vivo. To examine how increased excitability after BK-channel blockade affects learning, rats received bilateral infusions of paxilline, saline, or nothing into hippocampal CA1 prior to trace eyeblink conditioning. The drug group was slower to acquire the task, but learning was not completely impaired. This suggests that nonspecific increases in excitability and baseline neuronal firing rates caused by in vivo blockade of the BK channel may disrupt correct processing of inputs, thereby impairing hippocampus-dependent learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-109
Number of pages4
JournalLearning and Memory
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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