Long-lasting plasticity of synaptic transmission is classically thought to be the cellular substrate for information storage in the brain. Recent data indicate however that it is not the whole story and persistent changes in the intrinsic neuronal excitability have been shown to occur in parallel to the induction of long-term synaptic modifications. This form of plasticity depends on the regulation of voltage-gated ion channels. Here we review the experimental evidence for plasticity of neuronal excitability induced at pre- or postsynaptic sites when long-term plasticity of synaptic transmission is induced with Spike-Timing Dependent Plasticity (STDP) protocols. We describe the induction and expression mechanisms of the induced changes in excitability. Finally, the functional synergy between synaptic and non-synaptic plasticity and their spatial extent are discussed.
Keywords: LTD; LTP; STDP; cortex; hippocampus; ion channel; plasticity.