Synaptic downscaling during “up” states

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Science  04 May 2018:
Vol. 360, Issue 6388, pp. 504
DOI: 10.1126/science.360.6388.504-c

During slow-wave sleep, cortical networks oscillate between periods of high activity, known as “up” states, and quieter periods, known as “down” states. González-Rueda et al. compared synaptic plasticity during up and down states in the mouse barrel cortex during slow-wave sleep–like cortical dynamics. They studied connections between cortical layers 4 and 2/3 in young animals at postnatal days 16 to 21. This age corresponds to the end of the critical period of development of these synapses. Plasticity rules were modulated by up states: Spike timing–dependent synaptic potentiation was absent, and active synapses failing to contribute to postsynaptic spiking were selectively depressed. This synaptic down-scaling mechanism promotes the elimination of weak and the preservation of strong synapses, thus enhancing the signal-to-noise ratio.

Neuron 97, 1244 (2018).

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