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This article is part of the supplement: Twentieth Annual Computational Neuroscience Meeting: CNS*2011

Open Access Oral presentation

The modular cross-synaptic nature of LTP/LTD following on-going neural activity

Alex Loebel1*, Jean-Vincent Le Bé2, Magnus JE Richardson3, Andreas Herz1 and Henry Markram2

Author Affiliations

1 Department Biologie II, LMU, and Bernstein Center Munich, Germany

2 Brain Mind Institute, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), Lausanne, Switzerland

3 Warwick Systems Biology Centre, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK

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BMC Neuroscience 2011, 12(Suppl 1):O1  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-12-S1-O1


The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2202/12/S1/O1


Published:18 July 2011

© 2011 Loebel et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Oral presentation

While synaptic efficacies are modified continuously by on-going spiking activity, it is yet unclear whether the underlying pre- and post-synaptic processes occur independently, or in accordance. To elucidate the effects of sustained spiking communication on synaptic properties, we patch-clamped paired pyramidal neurons in-vitro at both ends of 12h intervals of spontaneous or glutamate-induced spiking activity. We found that the synaptic efficacies either increased, or decreased, with the ratio between the second and first measurement ranging between 0.08-14. Using quantal and failure analyses we show that this slow form of long-term potentiation and depression is explained by changes in the estimated number of release sites, alongside overall post-synaptic changes that maintain the quantal size per release site. Our findings suggest that sustained neural activity results in matched pre- and post-synaptic modifications, in which elementary modules that span the synaptic cleft are added or subtracted as a function of experience.