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Long-term maintenance mechanisms of synaptic plasticity have been found

On March 2, The Journal of Neuroscience published The latest findings of The neuronal information processing and plasticity research group of The Shanghai institute of life sciences, Chinese academy of sciences, on The long-term maintenance of synaptic plasticity.

Sustained activity of neurons induced by external stimulation can induce long-term changes in synaptic transmission, a phenomenon known as long-term synaptic plasticity, which is considered to be the basis of cellular mechanism of fine modification of neural circuits and learning and memory during development. According to the duration of LTP, early LTP and late LTP (late LTP, l-ltp) are generally classified. Among them, l-ltp lasts for more than a few hours to several days, depending on new protein synthesis, so l-ltp is the cytological basis of long-term memory formation.

Through in-vivo detection of l-ltp induction and maintenance, gong liqin and he lingjie, ph. d. (2) the sustained activation of n-methyl-d-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptor on the postsynaptic membrane within a short time (~30 minutes) after synaptic "learning" is critical for l-ltp stability; Meanwhile, the activation of NMDA receptors depends on the spontaneous firing of neurons after learning.

Previously, NMDA receptor activation was thought to play an important role only during the induction phase of synaptic plasticity, and the findings of this study give NMDA receptor activation a key role in maintaining the long-term duration of synaptic plasticity after the induction phase. These findings also provide synaptic "learning" mechanisms for the formation of long term memories by "time interval" learning proposed in psychophysical or behavioral studies.

This work was completed in collaboration with zhang xiaohui research group and pu muming research group of Shanghai institute of life sciences, Chinese academy of sciences, and was funded by the "innovation project" of Chinese academy of sciences (kscx2-yw-r-29) and the "plasticity of brain structure and function" 973 project of the ministry of science and technology (2011CBA00400).
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