STDP and BDNF in CA1 spines (Solinas et al. 2019)

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Storing memory traces in the brain is essential for learning and memory formation. Memory traces are created by joint electrical activity in neurons that are interconnected by synapses and allow transferring electrical activity from a sending (presynaptic) to a receiving (postsynaptic) neuron. During learning, neurons that are co-active can tune synapses to become more effective. This process is called synaptic plasticity or long-term potentiation (LTP). Timing-dependent LTP (t-LTP) is a physiologically relevant type of synaptic plasticity that results from repeated sequential firing of action potentials (APs) in pre- and postsynaptic neurons. T-LTP is observed during learning in vivo and is a cellular correlate of memory formation. T-LTP can be elicited by different rhythms of synaptic activity that recruit distinct synaptic growth processes underlying t-LTP. The protein brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is released at synapses and mediates synaptic growth in response to specific rhythms of t-LTP stimulation, while other rhythms mediate BDNF-independent t-LTP. Here, we developed a realistic computational model that accounts for our previously published experimental results of BDNF-independent 1:1 t-LTP (pairing of 1 presynaptic with 1 postsynaptic AP) and BDNF-dependent 1:4 t-LTP (pairing of 1 presynaptic with 4 postsynaptic APs). The model explains the magnitude and time course of both t-LTP forms and allows predicting t-LTP properties that result from altered BDNF turnover. Since BDNF levels are decreased in demented patients, understanding the function of BDNF in memory processes is of utmost importance to counteract Alzheimer’s disease.
1 . Solinas SMG, Edelmann E, Leßmann V, Migliore M (2019) A kinetic model for Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor mediated spike timing-dependent LTP. PLoS Comput Biol 15:e1006975 [PubMed]
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Model Information (Click on a link to find other models with that property)
Model Type: Neuron or other electrically excitable cell; Synapse; Dendrite;
Brain Region(s)/Organism: Hippocampus;
Cell Type(s): Hippocampus CA1 pyramidal GLU cell;
Channel(s): I Na,t; I_KD; I K; I h; I A; I Calcium;
Gap Junctions:
Receptor(s): AMPA; NMDA;
Transmitter(s): Glutamate;
Simulation Environment: NEURON;
Model Concept(s): Facilitation; Long-term Synaptic Plasticity; Short-term Synaptic Plasticity; STDP;
Implementer(s): Solinas, Sergio [solinas at]; Migliore, Michele [Michele.Migliore at];
Search NeuronDB for information about:  Hippocampus CA1 pyramidal GLU cell; AMPA; NMDA; I Na,t; I A; I K; I h; I Calcium; I_KD; Glutamate;
distr.mod *
h.mod *
kadist.mod *
kaprox.mod *
kdrca1.mod *
na3n.mod *
naxn.mod *
netstims.mod *
: $Id: netstim.mod,v 2001/01/01 20:30:37 hines Exp $
: modified in such a way that the first event will never be before start
: M.Migliore Dec.2001
: modified in such a way to have the first event at start
: M.Migliore Sep. 2003

  RANGE interval, number, start
  RANGE noise

	interval	= 10 (ms) <1e-9,1e9>: time between spikes (msec)
	number	= 10 <0,1e9>	: number of spikes
	start		= 50 (ms)	: start of first spike
	noise		= 0 <0,1>	: amount of randomeaness (0.0 - 1.0)

	event (ms)
	end (ms)

PROCEDURE seed(x) {

	on = 0
	y = 0
	if (noise < 0) {
		noise = 0
	if (noise > 1) {
		noise = 1
	if (start >= 0 && number > 0) {
	: first spike occurs at start
		event = start
		net_send(event, 3)

PROCEDURE init_sequence(t(ms)) {
	if (number > 0) {
		on = 1
		event = t
		end = t + 1e-6 + invl(interval)*(number-1)

FUNCTION invl(mean (ms)) (ms) {
	if (mean <= 0.) {
		mean = .01 (ms) : I would worry if it were 0.
	if (noise == 0) {
		invl = mean
		invl = (1. - noise)*mean + noise*mean*exprand(1)

PROCEDURE event_time() {
	if (number > 0) {
		event = event + invl(interval)
	if (event > end) {
		on = 0

	if (flag == 0) { : external event
		if (w > 0 && on == 0) { : turn on spike sequence
			net_send(0, 1)
		}else if (w < 0 && on == 1) { : turn off spiking
			on = 0
	if (flag == 3) { : from INITIAL
		if (on == 0) {
			net_send(0, 1)
	if (flag == 1 && on == 1) {
		y = 2
		if (on == 1) {
			net_send(event - t, 1)
		net_send(.1, 2)
	if (flag == 2) {
		y = 0

Presynaptic spike generator

This mechanism has been written to be able to use synapses in a single
neuron receiving various types of presynaptic trains.  This is a "fake"
presynaptic compartment containing a spike generator.  The trains
of spikes can be either periodic or noisy (Poisson-distributed)

   noise: 	between 0 (no noise-periodic) and 1 (fully noisy)
   interval: 	mean time between spikes (ms)
   number: 	mean number of spikes

Written by Z. Mainen, modified by A. Destexhe, The Salk Institute

Modified by Michael Hines for use with CVode
The intrinsic bursting parameters have been removed since
generators can stimulate other generators to create complicated bursting
patterns with independent statistics (see below)

Modified by Michael Hines to use logical event style with NET_RECEIVE
This stimulator can also be triggered by an input event.
If the stimulator is in the on=0 state and receives a positive weight
event, then the stimulator changes to the on=1 state and goes through
its entire spike sequence before changing to the on=0 state. During
that time it ignores any positive weight events. If, in the on=1 state,
the stimulator receives a negative weight event, the stimulator will
change to the off state. In the off state, it will ignore negative weight
events. A change to the on state immediately fires the first spike of
its sequence.