The role of neuromodulators in cortical lasticity. A computational perspective

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Title: The role of neuromodulators in cortical lasticity. A computational perspective
Authors: Pedrosa, V
Clopath, C
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Neuromodulators play a ubiquitous role across the brain in regulating plasticity. With recent advances in experimental techniques, it is possible to study the effects of diverse neuromodulatory states in specific brain regions. Neuromodulators are thought to impact plasticity predominantly through two mechanisms: the gating of plasticity and the upregulation of neuronal activity. However, the consequences of these mechanisms are poorly understood and there is a need for both experimental and theoretical exploration. Here we illustrate how neuromodulatory state affects cortical plasticity through these two mechanisms. First, we explore the ability of neuromodulators to gate plasticity by reshaping the learning window for spike-timing-dependent plasticity. Using a simple computational model, we implement four different learning rules and demonstrate their effects on receptive field plasticity. We then compare the neuromodulatory effects of upregulating learning rate versus the effects of upregulating neuronal activity. We find that these seemingly similar mechanisms do not yield the same outcome: upregulating neuronal activity can lead to either a broadening or a sharpening of receptive field tuning, whereas upregulating learning rate only intensifies the sharpening of receptive field tuning. This simple model demonstrates the need for further exploration of the rich landscape of neuromodulator-mediated plasticity. Future experiments, coupled with biologically detailed computational models, will elucidate the diversity of mechanisms by which neuromodulatory state regulates cortical plasticity.
Issue Date: 10-Jan-2017
Date of Acceptance: 12-Dec-2016
ISSN: 1663-3563
Publisher: Frontiers Media
Journal / Book Title: Frontiers in Synaptic Neuroscience
Volume: 8
Copyright Statement: © 2017 Pedrosa and Clopath. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Sponsor/Funder: Engineering & Physical Science Research Council (EPSRC)
The Leverhulme Trust
The Royal Society
Wellcome Trust
Funder's Grant Number: EP/M019780/1
Keywords: acetylcholine
computational modeling
synaptic plasticity
Publication Status: Published
Conference Place: Switzerland
Article Number: ARTN 38
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Engineering

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