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: New ALS associated gene identified using innovative strategy

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

New ALS associated gene identified using innovative strategy

10 hours ago

Using an innovative exome sequencing strategy, a team of international scientists led by John Landers, PhD, at the University of Massachusetts Medical School has shown that TUBA4A, the gene encoding the Tubulin Alpha 4A protein, ...

Can bariatric surgery lead to severe headache?

10 hours ago

Bariatric surgery may be a risk factor for a condition that causes severe headaches, according to a study published in the October 22, 2014, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurol ...

Bipolar disorder discovery at the nano level

11 hours ago

A nano-sized discovery by Northwestern Medicine scientists helps explain how bipolar disorder affects the brain and could one day lead to new drug therapies to treat the mental illness.

Brain simulation raises questions

14 hours ago

What does it mean to simulate the human brain? Why is it important to do so? And is it even possible to simulate the brain separately from the body it exists in? These questions are discussed in a new paper ...

Human skin cells reprogrammed directly into brain cells

14 hours ago

Scientists have described a way to convert human skin cells directly into a specific type of brain cell affected by Huntington's disease, an ultimately fatal neurodegenerative disorder. Unlike other techniques ...

User comments : 0