Spike-timing-dependent plasticity in the intact brain : counteracting spurious spike coincidences. Article - 2010

Daniel Shulz, Vincent Jacob

Daniel Shulz, Vincent Jacob, « Spike-timing-dependent plasticity in the intact brain : counteracting spurious spike coincidences.  », Frontiers in Synaptic Neuroscience, 2010, p. 137. ISSN 1663-3563


A computationally rich algorithm of synaptic plasticity has been proposed based on the experimental observation that the sign and amplitude of the change in synaptic weight is dictated by the temporal order and temporal contiguity between pre- and postsynaptic activities. For more than a decade, this spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP) has been studied mainly in brain slices of different brain structures and cultured neurons. Although not yet compelling, evidences for the STDP rule in the intact brain, including primary sensory cortices, have been provided lastly. From insects to mammals, the presentation of precisely timed sensory inputs drives synaptic and functional plasticity in the intact central nervous system, with similar timing requirements than the in vitro defined STDP rule. The convergent evolution of this plasticity rule in species belonging to so distant phylogenic groups points to the efficiency of STDP, as a mechanism for modifying synaptic weights, as the basis of activity-dependent development, learning and memory. In spite of the ubiquity of STDP phenomena, a number of significant variations of the rule are observed in different structures, neuronal types and even synapses on the same neuron, as well as between in vitro and in vivo conditions. In addition, the state of the neuronal network, its ongoing activity and the activation of ascending neuromodulatory systems in different behavioral conditions have dramatic consequences on the expression of spike-timing-dependent synaptic plasticity, and should be further explored.

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