Interplay of multiple pathways and activity- dependent rules in STDP

Abstract : Hebbian plasticity describes a basic mechanism for synaptic plasticity whereby synaptic weights evolve depending on the relative timing of paired activity of the pre- and postsynaptic neurons. Spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP) constitutes a central experimental and theoretical synaptic Hebbian learning rule. Various mechanisms, mostly calcium-based, account for the induction and maintenance of STDP. Classically STDP is assumed to gradually emerge in a monotonic way as the number of pairings increases. However, non-monotonic STDP accounting for fast associative learning led us to challenge this monotonicity hypothesis and explore how the existence of multiple plasticity pathways affects the dynamical establishment of plasticity. To account for distinct forms of STDP emerging from increasing numbers of pairings and the variety of signaling pathways involved, we developed a general class of simple mathematical models of plasticity based on calcium transients and accommodating various calcium-based plasticity mechanisms. These mechanisms can either compete or cooperate for the establishment of long-term potentiation (LTP) and depression (LTD), that emerge depending on past calcium activity. Our model reproduces accurately the striatal STDP that involves endocannabinoid and NMDAR signaling pathways. Moreover, we predict how stimulus frequency alters plasticity, and how triplet rules are affected by the number of pairings. We further investigate the general model with an arbitrary number of pathways and show that depending on those pathways and their properties, a variety of plasticities may emerge upon variation of the number and/or the frequency of pairings, even when the outcome after large numbers of pairings is identical. These findings, built upon a biologically realistic example and generalized to other applications, argue that in order to fully describe synaptic plasticity it is not sufficient to record STDP curves at fixed pairing numbers and frequencies. In fact, considering the whole spectrum of activity-dependent parameters could have a great impact on the description of plasticity, and a better understanding of the engram.
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Gaëtan Vignoud, Laurent Venance, Jonathan Touboul. Interplay of multiple pathways and activity- dependent rules in STDP. PLoS Computational Biology, Public Library of Science, 2018, 14 (8), pp.e1006184. ⟨10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006184 ⟩. ⟨inserm-02146112⟩

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