Mar 31, 2020

Burst-dependent synaptic plasticity can coordinate learning in hierarchical circuits

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
A. PayeurRichard Naud


Synaptic plasticity is believed to be a key physiological mechanism for learning. It is well-established that it depends on pre and postsynaptic activity. However, models that rely solely on pre and postsynaptic activity for synaptic changes have, to date, not been able to account for learning complex tasks that demand hierarchical networks. Here, we show that if synaptic plasticity is regulated by high-frequency bursts of spikes, then neurons higher in the hierarchy can coordinate the plasticity of lower-level connections. Using simulations and mathematical analyses, we demonstrate that, when paired with short-term synaptic dynamics, regenerative activity in the apical dendrites, and synaptic plasticity in feedback pathways, a burst-dependent learning rule can solve challenging tasks that require deep network architectures. Our results demonstrate that well-known properties of dendrites, synapses, and synaptic plasticity are sufficient to enable sophisticated learning in hierarchical circuits.

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Human plasma
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Manduca sexta M13
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