Systems biology of synaptic plasticity: a review on N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor mediated biochemical pathways and related mathematical models

Biosystems. 2014 Aug;122:7-18. doi: 10.1016/j.biosystems.2014.06.005. Epub 2014 Jun 12.


Synaptic plasticity, an emergent property of synaptic networks, has shown strong correlation to one of the essential functions of the brain, memory formation. Through understanding synaptic plasticity, we hope to discover the modulators and mechanisms that trigger memory formation. In this paper, we first review the well understood modulators and mechanisms underlying N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor dependent synaptic plasticity, a major form of synaptic plasticity in hippocampus, and then comment on the key mathematical modelling approaches available in the literature to understand synaptic plasticity as the integration of the established functionalities of synaptic components.

Keywords: LTD; LTP; Memory formation; Synaptic plasticity; Systems biology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calmodulin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Receptors, Glutamate / genetics
  • Receptors, Glutamate / metabolism
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Systems Biology / methods*
  • Systems Biology / trends


  • Calmodulin
  • Receptors, Glutamate
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionic acid subtype glutamate receptor, human
  • Calcium