Nat Rev Neurosci 2009 Sep;10(9):647-58
Department of Basic Neurosciences, Medical Faculty, University of Geneva, Switzerland.
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Neuroscientist 2007 Oct;13(5):492-505
Laboratoire de Neurobiologie de l'Apprentissage, de la Mémoire et de la Communication, CNRS, Univ Paris-Sud, Orsay, France.
A defining characteristic of the brain is its remarkable capacity to undergo activity-dependent functional and morphological remodeling via mechanisms of plasticity that form the basis of our capacity to encode and retain memories. Today, it is generally accepted that the neurobiological substrate of memories resides in activity-driven modifications of synaptic strength and structural remodeling of neural networks activated during learning. Since the discovery of long-term potentiation, the role of synaptic strengthening in learning and memory has been the subject of considerable investigation, and numerous studies have provided new insights into how this form of plasticity can subserve memory function. Read More
Nature 2004 Oct;431(7010):789-95
Integrative and Computational Neuroscience Unit (UNIC), CNRS, Gif-sur Yvette 91198, France.
Plasticity in neural circuits can result from alterations in synaptic strength or connectivity, as well as from changes in the excitability of the neurons themselves. To better understand the role of plasticity in the brain, we need to establish how brain circuits work and the kinds of computations that different circuit structures achieve. By linking theoretical and experimental studies, we are beginning to reveal the consequences of plasticity mechanisms for network dynamics, in both simple invertebrate circuits and the complex circuits of mammalian cerebral cortex. Read More
Brain Res Rev 2009 May 6;60(2):287-305. Epub 2009 Jan 6.
Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, Universität Göttingen, Bunsenstr. 10, 37073 Göttingen, Germany.
Plasticity in the brain reaches far beyond a mere changing of synaptic strengths. Recent time-lapse imaging in the living brain reveals ongoing structural plasticity by forming or breaking of synapses, motile spines, and re-routing of axonal branches in the developing and adult brain. Some forms of structural plasticity do not follow Hebbian- or anti-Hebbian paradigms of plasticity but rather appear to contribute to the homeostasis of network activity. Read More
Nature 2002 Dec 19-26;420(6917):788-94
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, New York 11724, USA.
Do new synapses form in the adult cortex to support experience-dependent plasticity? To address this question, we repeatedly imaged individual pyramidal neurons in the mouse barrel cortex over periods of weeks. We found that, although dendritic structure is stable, some spines appear and disappear. Spine lifetimes vary greatly: stable spines, about 50% of the population, persist for at least a month, whereas the remainder are present for a few days or less. Read More