Given that the process of Long Term Potentiation (LTP) is one of the processes that increases synaptic efficacy:

Is it reasonable to conclude that the process of LTP is sufficient and necessary to control plasticity of circuits within the brain?

Can we assume that the biochemical factors that modulate LTP are also intrinsically linked with brain plasticity?

  • $\begingroup$ I am afraid I don't understand the question. What do you mean by “can be used as a definitive link” or “intrinsically linked”? Both notions appear somewhat related but brain plasticity is broader and perhaps most often mentioned when discussing other, larger changes in the brain. Also, it's a somewhat vague notion so that it might not be useful to look for a canonical definition of what counts as “brain plasticity”. $\endgroup$
    – Gala
    Aug 6, 2013 at 10:02
  • $\begingroup$ @GaëlLaurans I took a crack at what I think he is saying, let me know, Skippy, if I have missed the boat. $\endgroup$ Aug 6, 2013 at 10:16
  • $\begingroup$ Feel free to kick it around a bit more, I was just trying to clarify what Gael was asking. $\endgroup$ Aug 6, 2013 at 10:20
  • $\begingroup$ What about LTD (Long Term Depression)? Shouldn't it be part of the picture, too? $\endgroup$ Aug 6, 2013 at 17:00

1 Answer 1


Although LTP might be necessary for brain plasticity, I would doubt that it is also sufficient. There is quite a lot of literature about homeostatic plasticity (for a review, see Turrigiano & Nelson, 2004) and synaptic scaling (for another review, see Turrigiano, 2008) which seem to be necessary to keep LTP working in the long run.

Turrigiano GG, Nelson SB (2004) Homeostatic plasticity in the developing nervous system. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 5, 97-107. Full text

Turrigiano GG (2008) The self-tuning neuron: synaptic scaling of excitatory synapses. Cell 135, 422-435. Full text


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