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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2015 Dec;35:127-35. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2015.08.001. Epub 2015 Aug 25.

Synapse-type-specific plasticity in local circuits.

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Allen Institute for Brain Science, Seattle, WA 98103, USA.
Centre for Research in Neuroscience, Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, Montreal General Hospital, Montréal, Québec H3G 1A4, Canada. Electronic address:


Neuroscientists spent decades debating whether synaptic plasticity was presynaptically or postsynaptically expressed. It was eventually concluded that plasticity depends on many factors, including cell type. More recently, it has become increasingly clear that plasticity is regulated at an even finer grained level; it is specific to the synapse type, a concept we denote synapse-type-specific plasticity (STSP). Here, we review recent developments in the field of STSP, discussing both long-term and short-term variants and with particular emphasis on neocortical function. As there are dozens of neocortical cell types, there is a multiplicity of forms of STSP, the vast majority of which have never been explored. We argue that to understand the brain and synaptic diseases, we have to grapple with STSP.

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