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Front Synaptic Neurosci. 2017 Mar 14;9:7. doi: 10.3389/fnsyn.2017.00007. eCollection 2017.

Coexistence of Multiple Types of Synaptic Plasticity in Individual Hippocampal CA1 Pyramidal Neurons.

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Institute of Physiology, Otto-von-Guericke UniversityMagdeburg, Germany; Center for Behavioral Brain Sciences, Otto-von-Guericke UniversityMagdeburg, Germany.
Institute of Physiology, Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, Germany.


Understanding learning and memory mechanisms is an important goal in neuroscience. To gain insights into the underlying cellular mechanisms for memory formation, synaptic plasticity processes are studied with various techniques in different brain regions. A valid model to scrutinize different ways to enhance or decrease synaptic transmission is recording of long-term potentiation (LTP) or long-term depression (LTD). At the single cell level, spike timing-dependent plasticity (STDP) protocols have emerged as a powerful tool to investigate synaptic plasticity with stimulation paradigms that also likely occur during memory formation in vivo. Such kind of plasticity can be induced by different STDP paradigms with multiple repeat numbers and stimulation patterns. They subsequently recruit or activate different molecular pathways and neuromodulators for induction and expression of STDP. Dopamine (DA) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) have been recently shown to be important modulators for hippocampal STDP at Schaffer collateral (SC)-CA1 synapses and are activated exclusively by distinguishable STDP paradigms. Distinct types of parallel synaptic plasticity in a given neuron depend on specific subcellular molecular prerequisites. Since the basal and apical dendrites of CA1 pyramidal neurons are known to be heterogeneous, and distance-dependent dendritic gradients for specific receptors and ion channels are described, the dendrites might provide domain specific locations for multiple types of synaptic plasticity in the same neuron. In addition to the distinct signaling and expression mechanisms of various types of LTP and LTD, activation of these different types of plasticity might depend on background brain activity states. In this article, we will discuss some ideas why multiple forms of synaptic plasticity can simultaneously and independently coexist and can contribute so effectively to increasing the efficacy of memory storage and processing capacity of the brain. We hypothesize that resolving the subcellular location of t-LTP and t-LTD mechanisms that are regulated by distinct neuromodulator systems will be essential to reach a more cohesive understanding of synaptic plasticity in memory formation.


BDNF; dopamine; excitatory neurons; hippocampus; repeat number; spike timing-dependent plasticity; synapse specific LTP; synaptic plasticity

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