The discovery of long-term potentiation

Terje Lømo

Abstract

This paper describes circumstances around the discovery of long-term potentiation (LTP). In 1966, I had just begun independent work for the degree of Dr medicinae (PhD) in Per Andersen's laboratory in Oslo after an eighteen-month apprenticeship with him. Studying the effects of activating the perforant path to dentate granule cells in the hippocampus of anaesthetized rabbits, I observed that brief trains of stimuli resulted in increased efficiency of transmission at the perforant path-granule cell synapses that could last for hours. In 1968, Tim Bliss came to Per Andersen's laboratory to learn about the hippocampus and field potential recording for studies of possible memory mechanisms. The two of us then followed up my preliminary results from 1966 and did the experiments that resulted in a paper that is now properly considered to be the basic reference for the discovery of LTP.