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Roth-Alpermann, Claudia (2005): Homeostatic regulation of long-term potentiation. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Biology
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Abstract

Homeostasis is a key concept in biology. It enables ecosystems, organisms, organs and cells to adjust their operating range to values that ensure optimal performance. Homeostatic regulation of synaptic activity has been shown to play an important role during development. Here I investigated whether also mature neurons possess mechanisms to prevent the strengthening of input synapses once the limit of their ‘operating range’ has been reached. Using electrophysiological recordings in hippocampal slices, I showed that such a mechanism indeed exists but only comes into play after a considerable number of synapses has been potentiated. Thus, adult neurons can sustain a substantial amount of synaptic strengthening but, once a certain threshold of potentiation is exceeded, homeostatic regulation ensures that no further strengthening occurs.