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Short-Term Synaptic Plasticity at Interneuronal Synapses Could Sculpt Rhythmic Motor Patterns.

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Jia, Yan 


The output of a neuronal network depends on the organization and functional properties of its component cells and synapses. While the characterization of synaptic properties has lagged cellular analyses, a potentially important aspect in rhythmically active networks is how network synapses affect, and are in turn affected by, network activity. This could lead to a potential circular interaction where short-term activity-dependent synaptic plasticity is both influenced by and influences the network output. The analysis of synaptic plasticity in the lamprey locomotor network was extended here to characterize the short-term plasticity of connections between network interneurons and to try and address its potential network role. Paired recordings from identified interneurons in quiescent networks showed synapse-specific synaptic properties and plasticity that supported the presence of two hemisegmental groups that could influence bursting: depression in an excitatory interneuron group, and facilitation in an inhibitory feedback circuit. The influence of activity-dependent synaptic plasticity on network activity was investigated experimentally by changing Ringer Ca(2+) levels, and in a simple computer model. A potential caveat of the experimental analyses was that changes in Ringer Ca(2+) (and compensatory adjustments in Mg(2+) in some cases) could alter several other cellular and synaptic properties. Several of these properties were tested, and while there was some variability, these were not usually significantly affected by the Ringer changes. The experimental analyses suggested that depression of excitatory inputs had the strongest influence on the patterning of network activity. The simulation supported a role for this effect, and also suggested that the inhibitory facilitating group could modulate the influence of the excitatory synaptic depression. Short-term activity-dependent synaptic plasticity has not generally been considered in spinal cord models. These results provide further evidence for short-term plasticity between locomotor network interneurons. As this plasticity could influence the patterning of the network output it should be considered as a potential functional component of spinal cord networks.



neuronal network, rhythmic, spinal cord, synaptic depression, synaptic plasticity, Animals, Biophysics, Calcium, Electric Stimulation, Excitatory Amino Acids, Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials, Feedback, Physiological, Functional Laterality, In Vitro Techniques, Interneurons, Lampreys, Locomotion, Models, Neurological, Motor Neurons, N-Methylaspartate, Nerve Net, Neuronal Plasticity, Periodicity, Spinal Cord, Synapses, alpha-Amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic Acid

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Front Neural Circuits

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Frontiers Media SA
Wellcome Trust (066702/Z/01/Z)
The early part of this work (2002–2005) was supported by a research grant from the Wellcome Trust. YJ acknowledges the financial support from the Cambridge Overseas Trusts.