Mar 29, 2020

Homeostatic structural plasticity leads to the formation of memory engrams through synaptic rewiring in recurrent networks

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Marta LukszaMichael L?ssig


Brain networks store new memories using functional and structural synaptic plasticity. Memory formation is generally attributed to Hebbian plasticity, while homeostatic plasticity is thought to have an ancillary role in stabilizing network dynamics. Here we report that homeostatic plasticity alone can also lead to the formation of stable memories. We analyze this phenomenon using a new theory of network remodeling, combined with numerical simulations of recurrent spiking neural networks that exhibit structural plasticity based on firing rate homeostasis. These networks are able to store repeatedly presented patterns and recall them upon the presentation of incomplete cues. Storing is fast, governed by the homeostatic drift. In contrast, forgetting is slow, driven by a diffusion process. Joint stimulation of neurons induces the growth of associative connections between them, leading to the formation of memory engrams. In conclusion, homeostatic structural plasticity induces a specific type of "silent memories", different from conventional attractor states.

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