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Serotonergic modulation of spike timing dependent plasticity in the hippocampus

Grant number: 19/21233-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2020
Effective date (End): December 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Physiology
Principal Investigator:Roberto de Pasquale
Grantee:Alicia Moraes Tamais
Home Institution: Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas (ICB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Synaptic plasticity is an important phenomenon that is in the basis of learning and memory processes. In this context, the hippocampus is a brain region relevant in some types of memory and uses plasticity to modify its connections during the process of memory traces formation. One of the types of plasticity is the spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP), which is mediated by the NMDA receptors activation, which triggers a signaling cascade promoting a variation in the number of receptors on the membrane and in the dendritic spines density. Those changes allow a synapse to be strengthened or weakened and, on a broader level, organize the circuitry dynamics, allowing cognitive processes. It is known that the possibility of potentiating a synaptic connection depends on the presence of neuromodulators, neurotransmitters capable of regulating plasticity processes - among the most important neuromodulators we have the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT). Serotoninergic modulation is performed by the raphe nuclei and the hippocampus is one of its target regions. Thus, our interest is to study how 5-HT regulates STDP in the CA1 region of the hippocampus, using the whole-cell patch technique.