Synaptic plasticity modulation by circulating peptides and metaplasticity: Involvement in Alzheimer's disease

Pharmacol Res. 2018 Apr;130:385-401. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2018.01.018. Epub 2018 Feb 6.


Synaptic plasticity is a cellular process involved in learning and memory whose alteration in its two main forms (Long Term Depression (LTD) and Long Term Potentiation (LTP)), is observed in most brain pathologies, including neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). In humans, AD is associated at the cellular level with neuropathological lesions composed of extracellular deposits of β-amyloid (Aβ) protein aggregates and intracellular neurofibrillary tangles, cellular loss, neuroinflammation and a general brain homeostasis dysregulation. Thus, a dramatic synaptic environment perturbation is observed in AD patients, involving changes in brain neuropeptides, cytokines, growth factors or chemokines concentration and diffusion. Studies performed in animal models demonstrate that these circulating peptides strongly affect synaptic functions and in particular synaptic plasticity. Besides this neuromodulatory action of circulating peptides, other synaptic plasticity regulation mechanisms such as metaplasticity are altered in AD animal models. Here, we will review new insights into the study of synaptic plasticity regulatory/modulatory mechanisms which could influence the process of synaptic plasticity in the context of AD with a particular attention to the role of metaplasticity and peptide dependent neuromodulation.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Aβ; Chemokines; Cytokines; Growth factors; Homeostasis; LTD; LTP; Learning and memory; Long term depression; Long term potentiation; Metaplasticity; Neuroinflammation; Neuromodulation; Neuropeptides; Synaptic plasticity; β-amyloid protein.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / physiopathology*
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Neuronal Plasticity*
  • Neuropeptides / physiology


  • Neuropeptides