Synaptic plasticity rules with physiological calcium levels.

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2020-12-16

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Abstract

Spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP) is considered as a primary mechanism underlying formation of new memories during learning. Despite the growing interest in activity-dependent plasticity, it is still unclear whether synaptic plasticity rules inferred from in vitro experiments are correct in physiological conditions. The abnormally high calcium concentration used in in vitro studies of STDP suggests that in vivo plasticity rules may differ significantly from in vitro experiments, especially since STDP depends strongly on calcium for induction. We therefore studied here the influence of extracellular calcium on synaptic plasticity. Using a combination of experimental (patch-clamp recording and Ca2+ imaging at CA3-CA1 synapses) and theoretical approaches, we show here that the classic STDP rule in which pairs of single pre- and postsynaptic action potentials induce synaptic modifications is not valid in the physiological Ca2+ range. Rather, we found that these pairs of single stimuli are unable to induce any synaptic modification in 1.3 and 1.5 mM calcium and lead to depression in 1.8 mM. Plasticity can only be recovered when bursts of postsynaptic spikes are used, or when neurons fire at sufficiently high frequency. In conclusion, the STDP rule is profoundly altered in physiological Ca2+, but specific activity regimes restore a classical STDP profile.

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10.1073/pnas.2013663117

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Inglebert, Yanis, Johnatan Aljadeff, Nicolas Brunel and Dominique Debanne (2020). Synaptic plasticity rules with physiological calcium levels. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117(52). pp. 33639–33648. 10.1073/pnas.2013663117 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/23342.

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Brunel

Nicolas Brunel

Duke School of Medicine Distinguished Professor in Neuroscience

We use theoretical models of brain systems to investigate how they process and learn information from their inputs. Our current work focuses on the mechanisms of learning and memory, from the synapse to the network level, in collaboration with various experimental groups. Using methods from
statistical physics, we have shown recently that the synaptic
connectivity of a network that maximizes storage capacity reproduces
two key experimentally observed features: low connection probability
and strong overrepresentation of bidirectionnally connected pairs of
neurons. We have also inferred `synaptic plasticity rules' (a
mathematical description of how synaptic strength depends on the
activity of pre and post-synaptic neurons) from data, and shown that
networks endowed with a plasticity rule inferred from data have a
storage capacity that is close to the optimal bound.



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