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Sci. Signal., 25 October 2011
Vol. 4, Issue 196, p. ec299
[DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.4196ec299]


Neuroscience Electrical Synapse Plasticity

Peter R. Stern

Science, AAAS, Cambridge CB2 1LQ, UK

Communication via electrical synapses is an important and fast local mechanism. However, very little is known about use-dependent plasticity in the efficacy and rectification properties of electrical synapses. Haas et al. (see the Perspective by Hestrin) examined gap-junction communication in the reticular nucleus of the thalamus. Induced burst firing in pairs of coupled thalamic reticular nucleus neurons in vitro resulted in long-term depression. The changes in gap-junctional communication were also asymmetric, depending on the strength of the burst. Such modification of electrical synapses resulting from activity in coupled neurons is likely to be a widespread and powerful mechanism for the reorganization of electrically coupled networks.

J. S. Haas, B. Zavala, C. E. Landisman, Activity-dependent long-term depression of electrical synapses. Science 334, 389–393 (2011). [Abstract] [Full Text]

S. Hestrin, The strength of electrical synapses. Science 334, 315–316 (2011). [Abstract] [Full Text]

Citation: P. R. Stern, Electrical Synapse Plasticity. Sci. Signal. 4, ec299 (2011).

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