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Nat Neurosci. 2011 Dec 18;15(2):250-7. doi: 10.1038/nn.3004.

Heterogeneous reallocation of presynaptic efficacy in recurrent excitatory circuits adapting to inactivity.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA.

Abstract

Recurrent excitatory circuits face extreme challenges in balancing efficacy and stability. We recorded from CA3 pyramidal neuron pairs in rat hippocampal slice cultures to characterize synaptic and circuit-level changes in recurrent synapses resulting from long-term inactivity. Chronic tetrodotoxin treatment greatly reduced the percentage of connected CA3-CA3 neurons, but enhanced the strength of the remaining connections; presynaptic release probability sharply increased, whereas quantal size was unaltered. Connectivity was decreased in activity-deprived circuits by functional silencing of synapses, whereas three-dimensional anatomical analysis revealed no change in spine or bouton density or aggregate dendrite length. The silencing arose from enhanced Cdk5 activity and could be reverted by acute Cdk5 inhibition with roscovitine. Our results suggest that recurrent circuits adapt to chronic inactivity by reallocating presynaptic weights heterogeneously, strengthening certain connections while silencing others. This restricts synaptic output and input, preserving signaling efficacy among a subset of neuronal ensembles while protecting network stability.

PMID:
22179109
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3558750
Free PMC Article

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