Increased excitability of aged rabbit CA1 neurons after trace eyeblink conditioning

James R. Moyer*, John M. Power, Lucien T. Thompson, John F. Disterhoft

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


Cellular properties of CA1 neurons were studied in hippocampal slices 24 hr after acquisition of trace eyeblink conditioning in young adult and aging rabbits. Aging rabbits required significantly more trials than young rabbits to reach a behavioral criterion of 60% conditioned responses in an 80 trial session. Intracellular recordings revealed that CA1 neurons from aging control rabbits had significantly larger, longer lasting postburst afterhyperpolarizations (AHPs) and greater spike frequency adaptation (accommodation) relative to those from young adult control rabbits. After learning, both young and aging CA1 neurons exhibited increased postsynaptic excitability compared with their respective age-matched control rabbits (naive and rabbits that failed to learn). Thus, after learning, CA1 neurons from both age groups had reduced postburst AHPs and reduced accommodation. No learning-related differences were seen in resting membrane potential, membrane time constant, neuron input resistance, or action potential characteristics. Furthermore, comparisons between CA1 neurons from trace- conditioned aging and trace-conditioned young adult rabbits revealed no statistically significant differences in postburst AHPs or accommodation, indicating that similar levels of postsynaptic excitability were attained during successful acquisition of trace eyeblink conditioning, regardless of rabbit age. These data represent the first in vitro demonstration of learning-related excitability changes in aging rabbit CA1 neurons and provide additional evidence for involvement of changes in postsynaptic excitability of CA1 neurons in both aging and learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5476-5482
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 15 2000


  • Afterhyperpolarization
  • Aging
  • Associative learning
  • Hippocampus
  • In vitro
  • Intracellular
  • Spike frequency adaptation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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