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J Neurochem. 2017 Sep;142(6):790-811. doi: 10.1111/jnc.14107. Epub 2017 Aug 8.

The malleable brain: plasticity of neural circuits and behavior - a review from students to students.

Author information

1
Institute for Clinical Neurobiology, Julius-Maximilians-University of Wuerzburg, Würzburg, Germany.
2
German Center of Neurodegenerative Diseases, University of Tuebingen, Tuebingen, Germany.
3
Centre for Biomolecular Interactions Bremen, Faculty 2 (Biology/Chemistry), University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany.
4
Centre for Environmental Research and Sustainable Technology, University of Bremen, Bremen, Germany.
5
Institute of Medical Biochemistry Leopoldo de Meis, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
6
Institute of Biophysics Carlos Chagas Filho, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
7
Inserm UMR 1141, Robert Debre Hospital, Paris, France.
8
Department of Psychology, Brain Health Research Centre, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
9
Department of Pharmacology, ISF College of Pharmacy, Moga, Punjab, India.
10
Department of Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta University, Augusta, Georgia, USA.
11
Laboratory of Research in Chemogenomics, Medicinal Chemistry, University of Veracruz, Veracruz, Mexico.
12
Neuropharmacology Division, Department of Pharmacy, Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, Rajasthan, India.
13
National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Tarnaka, Hyderabad, India.
14
Hudson Institute of Medical Research, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
15
Department of Molecular and Translational Science, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
16
Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences, Delhi, India.
17
Department of Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland.
18
Department of Physiology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore.
19
Department of Medicine, University Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre (HUKM), Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
20
Department of Process Thermodynamics, Faculty of Process and Environmental Engineering, Lodz University of Technology, Lodz, Poland.
21
CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Jadavpur, Kolkata, India.
22
Department of Biology, Program in Neuroscience, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York, USA.
23
Programa de Pós-Graduação em Neurociências, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC), Florianópolis, Brazil.
24
Instituto de Biología Celular y Neurociencia Prof. Eduardo De Robertis, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
25
Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
26
Cell Biology and Neurotoxicity Unit, Department of Anatomy, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Afe Babalola University, Ado - Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria.
27
National Brain Research Centre, Gurugram, Haryana, India.
28
Department of Developmental Neuroscience, Munroe-Meyer Institute, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska, USA.
29
Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Toxicología, México.
30
Division of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, Institute of Cellular Biology and Neuroscience (IBCN), CONICET-UBA, School of Medicine, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
31
School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.

Abstract

One of the most intriguing features of the brain is its ability to be malleable, allowing it to adapt continually to changes in the environment. Specific neuronal activity patterns drive long-lasting increases or decreases in the strength of synaptic connections, referred to as long-term potentiation and long-term depression, respectively. Such phenomena have been described in a variety of model organisms, which are used to study molecular, structural, and functional aspects of synaptic plasticity. This review originated from the first International Society for Neurochemistry (ISN) and Journal of Neurochemistry (JNC) Flagship School held in Alpbach, Austria (Sep 2016), and will use its curriculum and discussions as a framework to review some of the current knowledge in the field of synaptic plasticity. First, we describe the role of plasticity during development and the persistent changes of neural circuitry occurring when sensory input is altered during critical developmental stages. We then outline the signaling cascades resulting in the synthesis of new plasticity-related proteins, which ultimately enable sustained changes in synaptic strength. Going beyond the traditional understanding of synaptic plasticity conceptualized by long-term potentiation and long-term depression, we discuss system-wide modifications and recently unveiled homeostatic mechanisms, such as synaptic scaling. Finally, we describe the neural circuits and synaptic plasticity mechanisms driving associative memory and motor learning. Evidence summarized in this review provides a current view of synaptic plasticity in its various forms, offers new insights into the underlying mechanisms and behavioral relevance, and provides directions for future research in the field of synaptic plasticity. Read the Editorial Highlight for this article on page 788. Cover Image for this issue: doi: 10.1111/jnc.13815.

KEYWORDS:

Hebbian plasticity; associative learning; critical period; homeostatic plasticity; motorskill learning; synaptic plasticity

PMID:
28632905
DOI:
10.1111/jnc.14107
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