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Trends Neurosci. 2013 Aug;36(8):471-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2013.04.007. Epub 2013 May 21.

Changing the tune: plasticity and adaptation of retrograde signals.

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Centre for Neuroendocrinology and Department of Physiology, University of Otago, PO Box 913, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand.


Retrograde signaling is a fundamental means by which neurons communicate. The acceptance of this statement has required a revision of how we view transmission and storage of information at the synapse. Although there is a substantial body of literature on the diverse molecules that serve as retrograde signals, less is known about how retrograde signal capacity can be modified. Is retrograde signaling plastic? How does this plasticity manifest? Are there behavioral correlates that may bias a neuron towards 'changing its tune', retrogradely speaking, of course? Here, we review recent findings that retrograde signaling is a highly labile process that adds additional layers of complexity that must be untangled to understand information processing in the nervous system.


dendrite; endocannabinoid; metaplasticity; plasticity; retrograde; synapse

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