Frequency facilitation (FF), comprising a rapid and multiple-fold increase in the magnitude of evoked field potentials, is elicited by low-frequency stimulation (LFS) at mossy fiber–CA3 synapses. Here, we show that in freely behaving rats, FF reliably occurs in response to 1 and 2Hz but not in response to 0.25-, 0.3-, or 0.5-Hz LFS. Strikingly, prolonged (∼600 s) FF was tightly correlated to the induction of long-term depression (LTD) in freely moving animals. Although LFS at 2 Hz elicited unstable FF and unstable LTD, application of LFS at 1 Hz elicited pronounced FF, as well as robust LTD that persisted for over 24 h. This correlation of prolonged FF with LTD was absent at stimulation frequencies that did not induce FF. The adenosine-A1 receptor appears to participate in these effects: Application of adenosine-A1, but not adenosine-A3, receptor antagonists enhanced mossy fiber synaptic transmission and occluded FF. Furthermore, adenosine-A1 receptor antagonism resulted in more stable FF at 1 or 2 Hz and elicited more potent LTD. These data support the fact that FF contributes to the enablement of long-term information storage at mossy fiber–CA3 synapses and that the adenosine-A1 receptor may regulate the thresholds for this process.

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