Short-term depression and long-term plasticity together tune sensitive range of synaptic plasticity

PLoS Comput Biol. 2020 Sep 25;16(9):e1008265. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1008265. eCollection 2020 Sep.


Synaptic efficacy is subjected to activity-dependent changes on short- and long time scales. While short-term changes decay over minutes, long-term modifications last from hours up to a lifetime and are thought to constitute the basis of learning and memory. Both plasticity mechanisms have been studied extensively but how their interaction shapes synaptic dynamics is little known. To investigate how both short- and long-term plasticity together control the induction of synaptic depression and potentiation, we used numerical simulations and mathematical analysis of a calcium-based model, where pre- and postsynaptic activity induces calcium transients driving synaptic long-term plasticity. We found that the model implementing known synaptic short-term dynamics in the calcium transients can be successfully fitted to long-term plasticity data obtained in visual- and somatosensory cortex. Interestingly, the impact of spike-timing and firing rate changes on plasticity occurs in the prevalent firing rate range, which is different in both cortical areas considered here. Our findings suggest that short- and long-term plasticity are together tuned to adapt plasticity to area-specific activity statistics such as firing rates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Computer Simulation
  • Long-Term Potentiation / physiology
  • Long-Term Synaptic Depression / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology
  • Synapses / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology


  • Calcium

Grants and funding

MG was supported by the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR, WalkingCrossingNeurons, ANR-18-CE37-0006-01). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.