Traditional synaptic plasticity experiments and models depend on tight temporal correlations between pre- and postsynaptic activity. These tight temporal correlations, on the order of tens of milliseconds, are incompatible with significantly longer behavioral time scales, and as such might not be able to account for plasticity induced by behavior. Indeed, recent findings in hippocampus suggest that rapid, bidirectional synaptic plasticity which modifies place fields in CA1 operates at behavioral time scales. These experimental results suggest that presynaptic activity generates synaptic eligibility traces both for potentiation and depression, which last on the order of seconds. These traces can be converted to changes in synaptic efficacies by the activation of an instructive signal that depends on naturally occurring or experimentally induced plateau potentials. We have developed a simple mathematical model that is consistent with these observations. This model can be fully analyzed to find the fixed points of induced place fields, the convergence to these fixed points, and how these fixed points depend on system parameters such as the size and shape of presynaptic place fields, the animal’s velocity, and the parameters of the plasticity rule.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience