Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain: Multiple contacts are key to synapse formation

Date:
September 21, 2012
Source:
Forschungszentrum Juelich
Summary:
Multiple synaptic contacts between nerve cells facilitate the creation of a new contact, as neuroscientists report. An integral mechanism of memory foundation is the formation of additional contacts between neurons in the brain. However, until now it was not known what conditions lead to the development of such synapses and how they are stabilized once created. By studying mathematical models, the scientists found a simple explanation for how and when synapses form -- or disappear -- in the brain.

Multiple synaptic contacts between nerve cells facilitate the creation of a new contact, as neuroscientists from the Bernstein Center Freiburg and the Forschungszentrum Jόlich report in the latest issue of the journal PLoS Computational Biology. An integral mechanism of memory foundation is the formation of additional contacts between neurons in the brain. However, until now it was not known what conditions lead to the development of such synapses and how they are stabilized once created. By studying mathematical models, the scientists found a simple explanation for how and when synapses form -- or disappear -- in the brain.

The scientists investigated the hypothesis that synapses between nerve cells strengthen if they are active in quick succession. This consolidates memory. The team used theoretical computer models to determine what conditions need to be present for synapses to form -- or disappear. Until now it was not known how it is decided on the level of individual nerve cells whether a connection with another neuron will be formed or not. The problem is that a single cell has no access to information concerning whether a synapse will contribute to the establishment of a particular memory.

Dr. Moritz Deger from the Bernstein Center Freiburg and his colleagues have found a simple mechanism which allows them to explain the formation of synapses: If one nerve cell is already connected to a second cell by several synaptic contacts, all of the contacts work together to stimulate the latter cell. This means that under these conditions the individual contacts cooperate to form synapses. But synapses will form and remain only if the neurons become active in the right order; otherwise they will disappear again. This order in cell activity must be measurable for the synaptic contacts, and indeed, physiologists have already found chemical compounds within the brain that might play this role.

As the scientists from Freiburg and Jόlich report, their mathematical model can explain the frequency of synaptic connections observed in experiments. This is a strong indication that they have discovered a long-sought mechanism for memory formation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Forschungszentrum Juelich. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Moritz Deger, Moritz Helias, Stefan Rotter, Markus Diesmann. Spike-Timing Dependence of Structural Plasticity Explains Cooperative Synapse Formation in the Neocortex. PLoS Computational Biology, 2012; 8 (9): e1002689 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002689

Cite This Page:

Forschungszentrum Juelich. "Brain: Multiple contacts are key to synapse formation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120921083156.htm>.
Forschungszentrum Juelich. (2012, September 21). Brain: Multiple contacts are key to synapse formation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120921083156.htm
Forschungszentrum Juelich. "Brain: Multiple contacts are key to synapse formation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120921083156.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) — Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) — More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) — Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) — Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins