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Synaptic Transmission Optimization Predicts Expression Loci of Long-Term Plasticity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-189.e7
Number of pages21
Issue number1
Early online date27 Sep 2017
DateAccepted/In press - 13 Sep 2017
DateE-pub ahead of print - 27 Sep 2017
DatePublished (current) - 27 Sep 2017


Long-term modifications of neuronal connections are critical for reliable memory storage in the brain. However, their locus of expression-pre- or postsynaptic-is highly variable. Here we introduce a theoretical framework in which long-term plasticity performs an optimization of the postsynaptic response statistics toward a given mean with minimal variance. Consequently, the state of the synapse at the time of plasticity induction determines the ratio of pre- and postsynaptic modifications. Our theory explains the experimentally observed expression loci of the hippocampal and neocortical synaptic potentiation studies we examined. Moreover, the theory predicts presynaptic expression of long-term depression, consistent with experimental observations. At inhibitory synapses, the theory suggests a statistically efficient excitatory-inhibitory balance in which changes in inhibitory postsynaptic response statistics specifically target the mean excitation. Our results provide a unifying theory for understanding the expression mechanisms and functions of long-term synaptic transmission plasticity.

    Research areas

  • Animals, Hippocampus/physiology, Long-Term Potentiation/physiology, Long-Term Synaptic Depression/physiology, Models, Neurological, Neocortex/physiology, Neural Inhibition/physiology, Neuronal Plasticity/physiology, Synaptic Transmission/physiology

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