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Nat Rev Neurosci. 2008 May;9(5):387. doi: 10.1038/nrn2356.

Metaplasticity: tuning synapses and networks for plasticity.

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Department of Psychology and the Brain Health and Repair Research Centre, University of Otago, BOX 56, Dunedin, 9054, New Zealand.


Synaptic plasticity is a key component of the learning machinery in the brain. It is vital that such plasticity be tightly regulated so that it occurs to the proper extent at the proper time. Activity-dependent mechanisms that have been collectively termed metaplasticity have evolved to help implement these essential computational constraints. Various intercellular signalling molecules can trigger lasting changes in the ability of synapses to express plasticity; their mechanisms of action are reviewed here, along with a consideration of how metaplasticity might affect learning and clinical conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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