Learning-induced multiple synapse formation in rat cerebellar cortex

Kara D. Federmeier, Jeffrey Kleim, William T. Greenough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

62 Scopus citations

Abstract

Strengthening of synaptic connections has been proposed to underlie information storage in the brain, and experience-dependent increases in synapse number have been observed. However, the effect of these new synapses on the specific connectivity, and thus function, of a given brain area remains largely unknown. We report here that motor learning specifically induces the formation of multiple synapses - two post-synaptic contacts at a single pre-synaptic varicosity - in the cerebellum. Rats undergoing motor learning had more multiple synapses (two Purkinje cell spines contacting a given parallel fiber varicosity) per Purkinje cell than did active or inactive controls. The formation of multiple synapses provides an additional connection between a given parallel fiber and Purkinje cell, thereby enhancing particular pathways, and may constitute a fundamental mechanism of neural encoding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-184
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Volume332
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 8 2002
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • Cerebellum
  • Motor learning
  • Multiple synapse
  • Parallel fiber
  • Plasticity
  • Synaptogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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