Memory savings through unified pre- and postsynaptic STDP (Costa et al 2015)

Although it is well known that long-term synaptic plasticity can be expressed both pre- and postsynaptically, the functional consequences of this arrangement have remained elusive. We show that spike-timing-dependent plasticity with both pre- and postsynaptic expression develops receptive fields with reduced variability and improved discriminability compared to postsynaptic plasticity alone. These long-term modifications in receptive field statistics match recent sensory perception experiments. In these simulations we demonstrate that learning with this form of plasticity leaves a hidden postsynaptic memory trace that enables fast relearning of previously stored information, providing a cellular substrate for memory savings. Our results reveal essential roles for presynaptic plasticity that are missed when only postsynaptic expression of long-term plasticity is considered, and suggest an experience-dependent distribution of pre- and postsynaptic strength changes.

Model Type: Synapse

Region(s) or Organism(s): Neocortex

Cell Type(s): Neocortex L5/6 pyramidal GLU cell

Transmitters: NO; Glutamate; Endocannabinoid

Model Concept(s): STDP

Simulation Environment: MATLAB; Brian; Python

Implementer(s): Costa, Rui Ponte [ruipontecosta at]


Costa RP, Froemke RC, Sjöström PJ, van Rossum MC. (2015). Unified pre- and postsynaptic long-term plasticity enables reliable and flexible learning. eLife. 4 [PubMed]

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