Metaplasticity: A New Frontier in the Neural Representation of Memory
Keywords:plasticity, metaplasticity, memory, learning
Modification of the strength of connections between neurons is widely accepted to be essential for information storage in the brain and thus form the basis of learning and memory. However, many regulatory mechanisms must exist in order for the richness of learning and memory to emerge from the simple long-term potentiation and depression of synapses. Metaplasticity, the regulation of synaptic plasticity by prior history of synaptic activity, is a newly discovered phenomenon which offers a deeper understanding of how synaptic plasticity is able to occur within an effective dynamic range and result in meaningful, coordinated changes in neural activity. A complete understanding of the mechanisms of plasticity and metaplasticity would not only be valuable for clinical application, but provide a link between the fields of biology, psychology, and cognitive science.
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