Spike timing, calcium signals and synaptic plasticity

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2002 Jun;12(3):305-14. doi: 10.1016/s0959-4388(02)00325-2.


Plasticity at central synapses depends critically on the timing of presynaptic and postsynaptic action potentials. Key initial steps in synaptic plasticity involve the back-propagation of action potentials into the dendritic tree and calcium influx that depends nonlinearly on the action potential and synaptic input. These initial steps are now better understood. In addition, recent studies of processes as diverse as gene expression and channel inactivation suggest that responses to calcium transients depend not only their amplitude, but on their time course and on the location of their origin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Synapses / ultrastructure