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, 3 Suppl, 1178-83

Synaptic Plasticity: Taming the Beast


Synaptic Plasticity: Taming the Beast

L F Abbott et al. Nat Neurosci.


Synaptic plasticity provides the basis for most models of learning, memory and development in neural circuits. To generate realistic results, synapse-specific Hebbian forms of plasticity, such as long-term potentiation and depression, must be augmented by global processes that regulate overall levels of neuronal and network activity. Regulatory processes are often as important as the more intensively studied Hebbian processes in determining the consequences of synaptic plasticity for network function. Recent experimental results suggest several novel mechanisms for regulating levels of activity in conjunction with Hebbian synaptic modification. We review three of them-synaptic scaling, spike-timing dependent plasticity and synaptic redistribution-and discuss their functional implications.

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