Brain plasticity: Changes and resets in homeostasis

Jun 25, 2009

In an article published in the June 25th edition of the journal Neuron, researchers at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary, have found that synaptic plasticity, long implicated as a device for 'change' in the brain, may also be essential for stability.

Homeostasis, the body's own mechanism of regulating and maintaining internal balance in the body, is necessary for survival. Precisely how the brain pulls off this tricky balancing act has not been well appreciated.

By examining neural circuits that regulate fluid volume, Jaideep Bains, PhD, and colleagues, Brent Kuzmiski, PhD, and Quentin Pittman, PhD, have demonstrated that multiple forms of synaptic plasticity work to ensure that an effective response to a life-threatening challenge is followed by an immediate recovery of these neural circuits to pre-challenge conditions.

These observations provide the first set of synaptic rules that help us understand how homeostatic setpoints are re-set in vivo. Based on their findings, Bains and colleagues, demonstrate that synaptic plasticity is essential for maintaining stability in a nervous system constantly bombarded by inputs from the outside world.

Source: University of Calgary (news : web)

Explore further: Why your nose can be a pathfinder

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Mechanisms of memory identified

Apr 23, 2008

Our ability to remember the objects, places and people within our environment is essential for everyday life, although the importance of this is only fully appreciated when recognition memory beings to fail, ...

New insight into Alzheimer’s disease

Dec 24, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new molecule important in a part of the memory that allows recognition of people has been identified by researchers at the University of Bristol. This type of memory is impaired at an early ...

Scientists capture the first image of memories being made

Jun 18, 2009

The ability to learn and to establish new memories is essential to our daily existence and identity; enabling us to navigate through the world. A new study by researchers at the Montreal Neurological Institute ...

Astrocytes and synaptic plasticity

Oct 13, 2008

By mopping up excess neurotrophic factor from neuronal synapses, astrocytes may finely tune synaptic transmission to affect processes such as learning and memory, say Bergami et al.

Study raises caution on new painkillers

Mar 12, 2008

A new class of painkillers that block a receptor called TRPV1 may interfere with brain functions such as learning and memory, a new study suggests. The experiments with rat brain found that the TRPV1 receptor regulates a ...

Recommended for you

Researchers track down cause of eye mobility disorder

8 hours ago

Imagine you cannot move your eyes up, and you cannot lift your upper eyelid. You walk through life with your head tilted upward so that your eyes look straight when they are rolled down in the eye socket. ...

How kids' brain structures grow as memory develops

9 hours ago

Our ability to store memories improves during childhood, associated with structural changes in the hippocampus and its connections with prefrontal and parietal cortices. New research from UC Davis is exploring ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Down's chromosome cause genome-wide disruption

The extra copy of Chromosome 21 that causes Down's syndrome throws a spanner into the workings of all the other chromosomes as well, said a study published Wednesday that surprised its authors.

Simplicity is key to co-operative robots

A way of making hundreds—or even thousands—of tiny robots cluster to carry out tasks without using any memory or processing power has been developed by engineers at the University of Sheffield, UK.

Progress in the fight against quantum dissipation

(Phys.org) —Scientists at Yale have confirmed a 50-year-old, previously untested theoretical prediction in physics and improved the energy storage time of a quantum switch by several orders of magnitude. ...