Recent progress in the synaptic pathophysiology of brain diseases is reviewed. To emphasize the emergence of common motifs in synapse dysfunctions across neurodevelopmental, psychiatric and neurological disorders, conventional clinical boundaries are disregarded and a decidedly trans-diagnostic, potentially unifying view of altered synapse function is promoted. Based on the overlapping genetic architecture of brain disorders, which often converges on genes related to synaptic functions, disease-related changes in basic pre-synaptic and post-synaptic communication, neuromodulation-gated changes in Hebbian plasticity, dynamic interactions between Hebbian and homeostatic plasticity, and changes in synaptic maintenance by autophagy and glial-mediated phagocytosis are highlighted.
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