Seminar Series

Short- and long-term plasticity of adult human synapses

Plasticity of synapses and physiological properties of neurons have been studied extensively in the rodent brain, and predominantly in very young brains. Very little is known about synaptic plasticity and physiological properties of neurons in adult human brain. I will discuss our recent work on short-term and long-term plasticity of adult human synapses. I will focus on pre- and postsynaptic mechanisms of plasticity, and I will discuss how adult human neurons integrate synaptic inputs in their timing of action potential output. In short, we find that when human neurons and synapses are stimulated with single pulses, the action potential and synaptic potentials are very similar to those found in rodent neurons and synapses. However, when neurons and synapses are repeatedly activated, we find that the dynamic properties of action potentials and synaptic potentials show surprisingly strong differences from rodent neurons and synapses.