Neurons and synapses in the mammalian brain exhibit plastic changes, which occur not only during development and under physiological conditions, but also under pathological conditions. One major cellular hypothesis is that activity-dependent changes in synaptic strength may contribute to the formation of memory and the expression of persistent inflammatory pain. Recently, the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) has been proposed to play an important role for learning, memory and chronic pain. Long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD) are well-studied phenomena which may be related to learning and memory. NMDA receptors are the most important trigger for LTP and LTD of synaptic strength. Here, we review recent studies and present new experimental data on the roles of NMDA receptors during synaptic depression in the ACC. Furthermore, we consider the physiological and pathological significance of LTD in the ACC.
© 2013 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co.