- Intermittent hypoxia (IH) during sleep has been shown to induce apoptosis in a time-dependent manner and spatial learning deficits in adult rats. Recently, we have demonstrated that IH induced significant decreases in Ser-133-phosphorylated cAMP-response element-binding protein (pCREB) without changes in total CREB. The expression of cleaved caspase 3 in the hippocampal CA1, a marker of apoptosis, peaked at 3 days of IH and returned to normoxic values at 14 days of IH. In addition, biphasic changes in spatial task learning were correlated with the CREB phosphorylation time course. In the present study, the rat hippocampal slice preparation was used to evaluate the ability to induce and maintain a CA1 population spike long-term potentiation (PS-LTP) in room air (RA)-maintained and IH-exposed rats. A significant decrease in the ability to sustain PS-LTP for 15 min in slices prepared from IH-exposed rats for either 3 days (34% of total) or 7 days (51% of total) as compared to slices prepared from RA-maintained rats (76% of total) was observed. These results suggest that the diminishment in the ability of neuronal tissue to express and sustain PS-LTP is correlated with previously reported biphasic changes in CREB phosphorylation and programmed cell death.