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- Open Access
Homeostatic intrinsic plasticity, neural heterogeneity and memory maintenance
© Sweeney et al. 2015
- Published: 18 December 2015
- Nitric Oxide
- Firing Rate
- Synaptic Input
- Synaptic Weight
- Cross Cell Membrane
Neural firing rates must be maintained within a stable range in the face of ongoing fluctuations in synaptic activity. This can be achieved through homeostatic intrinsic plasticity. However, here we show that such a mechanism, while successfully regulating neural firing rates, has an adverse effect on a network's ability to encode and retain memories. This is due to its interactions with Hebbian plasticity; neurons whose firing rates change following potentiation or depression of synaptic inputs will experience modifications in intrinsic excitability toward their homeostatic target, which can cause subsequent synaptic weight variations and disrupt learning. Essentially, this failure is a direct consequence of homeostasis preventing neural heterogeneity in order to maintain stable activity.
This work was supported by the Erasmus Mundus EuroSPIN programme (YS) and MRC Fellowship G0900425 (MHH).
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