Synaptic plasticity: from an electrophysiological approach to behavioural studies

Giada Cellot

Amount of frontal teaching:
15 hours

Synapses undergo to dynamic changes that depend on their previous history. This issue has been extensively studied through electrophysiological approaches, ranging from the characterization of in vivo long term synaptic potentiation to the development of artificial protocols to induce synaptic plasticity in vitro. In this context, the recent introduction of optogenetic tools combined with electrophysiological and behavioural observations allowed to characterize the functional consequences of synaptic plasticity occurring in specific brain regions.

This course will focus on the following topics:

  1. Long term plasticity (LTP): from Hebb’s postulate to electrophysiological and behavioural evidence.
  2. Hebbian and anti-Hebbian LTP.
  3. Spike timing dependent plasticity.
  4. Functional implications of hippocampal synaptic plasticity: memory and learning.
  5. Plastic changes in the amygdala circuitry. An example of associative learning: fear conditioning.
  6. Cellular mechanism underlying fear extinction.

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