It is well documented that 17β estradiol (E2) regulates excitatory synaptic transmission at hippocampal Shaffer-collateral (SC)-CA1 synapses, via activation of the classical estrogen receptors (ERα and ERβ). Hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons are also innervated by the temporoammonic (TA) pathway, and excitatory TA-CA1 synapses are reported to be regulated by E2. Recent studies suggest a role for the novel G-protein coupled estrogen receptor (GPER1) at SC-CA1 synapses, however, the role of GPER1 in mediating the effects of E2 at juvenile TA-CA1 synapses is unclear. Here we demonstrate that the GPER1 agonist, G1 induces a persistent, concentration-dependent (1-10 nM) increase in excitatory synaptic transmission at TA-CA1 synapses and this effect is blocked by selective GPER1 antagonists. The ability of GPER1 to induce this novel form of chemical long-term potentiation (cLTP) was prevented following blockade of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, and it was not accompanied by any change in paired pulse facilitation ratio (PPR). GPER1-induced cLTP involved activation of ERK but was independent of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) signalling. Prior treatment with philanthotoxin prevented the effects of G1, indicating that synaptic insertion of GluA2-lacking α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptors underlies GPER1-induced cLTP. Furthermore, activity-dependent LTP occluded G1-induced cLTP and vice versa, indicating that these processes have overlapping expression mechanisms. Activity-dependent LTP was blocked by the GPER1 antagonist, G15, suggesting that GPER1 plays a role in NMDA-dependent LTP at juvenile TA-CA1 synapses. These findings add a new dimension to our understanding of GPER1 in modulating neuronal plasticity with relevance to age-related neurodegenerative conditions.
© 2023. The Author(s).