Inhibitory connectivity defines the realm of excitatory plasticity

Gianluigi Mongillo*, Simon Rumpel, Yonatan Loewenstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations

Abstract

Recent experiments demonstrate substantial volatility of excitatory connectivity in the absence of any learning. This challenges the hypothesis that stable synaptic connections are necessary for long-term maintenance of acquired information. Here we measure ongoing synaptic volatility and use theoretical modeling to study its consequences on cortical dynamics. We show that in the balanced cortex, patterns of neural activity are primarily determined by inhibitory connectivity, despite the fact that most synapses and neurons are excitatory. Similarly, we show that the inhibitory network is more effective in storing memory patterns than the excitatory one. As a result, network activity is robust to ongoing volatility of excitatory synapses, as long as this volatility does not disrupt the balance between excitation and inhibition. We thus hypothesize that inhibitory connectivity, rather than excitatory, controls the maintenance and loss of information over long periods of time in the volatile cortex.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1463-1470
Number of pages8
JournalNature Neuroscience
Volume21
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature America, Inc.

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