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Neural PlasticityVolume 2011 2011, Article ID 870763, 11 pages

Review ArticleDepartment of Integrative Neurophysiology, Center for Neurogenomics and Cognitive Research CNCR, Neuroscience Campus Amsterdam, VU University Amsterdam, Room C-440, De Boelelaan 1085, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Received 29 April 2011; Accepted 15 July 2011

Academic Editor: Bjorn Kampa

Copyright © 2011 Matthijs B. Verhoog and Huibert D. Mansvelder. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Throughout life, activity-dependent changes in neuronal connection strength enable the brain to refine neural circuits and learn based on experience. In line with predictions made by Hebb, synapse strength can be modified depending on the millisecond timing of action potential firing STDP. The sign of synaptic plasticity depends on the spike order of presynaptic and postsynaptic neurons. Ionotropic neurotransmitter receptors, such as NMDA receptors and nicotinic acetylcholine receptors, are intimately involved in setting the rules for synaptic strengthening and weakening. In addition, timing rules for STDP within synapses are not fixed. They can be altered by activation of ionotropic receptors located at, or close to, synapses. Here, we will highlight studies that uncovered how network actions control and modulate timing rules for STDP by activating presynaptic ionotropic receptors. Furthermore, we will discuss how interaction between different types of ionotropic receptors may create “timing” windows during which particular timing rules lead to synaptic changes.

Autor: Matthijs B. Verhoog and Huibert D. Mansvelder



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