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Zh Vyssh Nerv Deiat Im I P Pavlova. 2001 Mar-Apr;51(2):267-78.

[The problem of adequacy of the methods applying for testing of synaptic plasticity during processes of learning].

[Article in Russian]

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Institute of Higher Nervous Activity and Neurophysiology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow.


Analysis of only the postsynaptic responses seems to be insufficient for studying the synaptic plasticity in learning, because they reflect not only synaptic modifications. The adequacy of brain slices application for investigation of the synaptic plasticity in learning per se has not been strictly specified. Learning processed can be adequately studied only in awake animals. However, traditional methods of field potential recording in response to stimulation of certain inputs that are well interpretable in vitro studies seem to be inadequate for in vivo testing synaptic plasticity. Single unit activity recording in pre- and postsynaptic fields during learning and direct threshold stimulation of monosynaptic inputs to a postsynaptic cell are suggested as a promising strategy for investigation of synaptic plasticity. Since the recording area is not deafferrented in a freely moving animal (as distinct from brain slices), the spontaneous activity in the neural network can interfere with responses to a testing stimulus. Computer simulation demonstrates that the interaction between spontaneous afferentation and testing stimulation can produce an illusion of synaptic modifications. Computer simulation of a neurophysiological experiment is proposed as a preliminary method for the reduction of the effect of spontaneous afferentation on the probability of the postsynaptic response.

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