Synaptic Dynamics: Overview
Synaptic dynamics describes the time-dependent changes in synaptic currents that alter the strength of coupling between neurons. Various mechanisms, both pre- and postsynaptic, contribute to ongoing changes of synaptic currents and modulate the overall network activity. These mechanisms operate on various time scales (milliseconds to years) and can lead to immediate changes in neuronal activity, ongoing adaptation of neuronal responses to changing inputs, and long-term learning and memory.
Connections between neurons form network circuitry, and these connections are not static, but change in amplitude and timing. When a spike reaches a presynaptic terminal, processes are initiated that result in release of neurotransmitters that diffuse across the synaptic cleft to reach the postsynaptic receptors. Changes in these release dynamics can lead to short-term or lasting changes in the amount and timing of transmitter released. In addition, surrounding cells...
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