Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) /p35 is involved in many developmental processes of the central nervous system. Cdk5/p35 is also implicated in synaptic plasticity, learning and memory. Several lines of conditional Cdk5 knockout mice (KO) have been generated and have shown different outcomes for learning and memory. Here, we present our analysis of p35 conditional KO mice (p35cKO) in hippocampal pyramidal neurons or forebrain GABAergic neurons using electrophysiological and behavioral methods. In the fear conditioning task, CamKII-p35cKO mice showed impaired memory retention. Furthermore, NMDAR-dependent long-term depression (LTD) induction by low-frequency stimuli in hippocampal slices from CamkII-p35cKO mice was impaired compared to that in control mice. In contrast, Dlx-p35cKO mice showed no abnormalities in behavioral tasks and electrophysiological analysis in their hippocampal slices. These results indicated that Cdk5/p35 in excitatory neurons is important for the hippocampal synaptic plasticity and associative memory retention.
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