Background: Repetitive convergent inputs to a single post-synaptic neuron can induce long-term potentiation (LTP) or depression (LTD) of synaptic activity in a spike timing-dependent manner.
Objective: Here we set a protocol of visual paired associative stimulation (vPAS) of the primary visual cortex (V1) in humans to induce persistent changes in the excitatory properties of V1 with a spike timing rule.
Methods: We provided convergent inputs to V1 by coupling transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) pulses of the occipital cortex with peripheral visual inputs, at four interstimulus intervals of -50/-25/+25/+50 ms relative to the visual evoked potential (VEP) P1 latency. We analysed VEP amplitude and delayed habituation before and up to 10 min after each vPAS protocol.
Results: VEP amplitude was reduced after vPAS+25. Delayed VEP habituation was increased after vPAS-25 while it was reduced after vPAS+25.
Conclusions: We provide evidence that associative bidirectional synaptic plasticity is a feature not only of the sensorimotor but also of the human visual system.
Keywords: Plasticity; Spike timing; Transcranial magnetic stimulation; Visual cortex; Visual evoked potential.
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