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What Are the Basic Principles that Govern Synaptic Plasticity?


Attardo,  Alessio
Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Max Planck Society;

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Our memories define who we are. Here, learning and memory are essential but how does the brain process and store information? Neurons are the elemental cells that compute and store this information in several ways. ALESSIO ATTARDO is interested in synapses. Synapses are the connections between neurons and this is where information flows. Specifically, Attardo focuses on the basic principles that govern synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus, the brain area that is involved in processing and recalling episodes of daily life. Using technology that allows inserting a piece of optical fiber in a mouse brain, his research group was able to track synapses in the hippocampus which allowed them to quantify how stable these synapses are over time. Their results confirm the hypothesis that the stability of synapses reflects the permanence of information in a brain region. Understanding how memories are stored allows designing treatments that can help patients with memory loss, such as Alzheimer's patients.